Establishing a Bedtime Routine for Your Baby

Baby sleep, especially in the early days, is one of the most concerning topics for new mothers. Some mothers struggle with their infant's irregular sleep patterns and nighttime awakenings. In this guide, I'll provide practical tips to help mothers establish a bedtime routine for their infant, ensuring both mother and baby enjoy sufficient and comfortable sleep.

dr sally.webp
Sally Al Beer
Published on:Feb 18th 2024 |Updated on:Mar 10th 2024
روتين النوم للاطفال

When to Start Establishing a Bedtime Routine for Your Baby?

It's essential to be realistic and not attempt to establish a sleep routine for a newborn in the first few days after birth. During this time, the mother is still recovering from childbirth, and both mother and baby are adapting to breastfeeding. However, the mother must be aware of essential tips for infant sleep training before giving birth to avoid difficulties in sleep training later on.

What is Sleep Training?

It's essential to note that sleep training does not necessarily mean the child will sleep through the night without waking up. Babies may wake up for various reasons such as hunger, feeling cold or hot, colic, or discomfort. Sleep training involves getting the child accustomed to falling asleep independently, placing them in their crib or designated sleeping area when they are drowsy, and allowing them to doze off without assistance from parents or feeding. Successful sleep training enables the child to return to sleep quickly, even if they wake up at night.

Steps to Establish an Infant's Bedtime Routine

1 | Proper Breastfeeding

It's crucial to ensure the baby breastfeeds correctly, with the breast latched on properly. Small, frequent feedings should be avoided, and the baby should be satisfied after each feeding, allowing the breast to empty.

2 | Exposure to Sunlight

Sunlight plays a significant role in the health of infants, helping regulate hormones and promoting healthy sleep.

3 | Encourage Cluster Feeding in the Evening

Cluster feeding, where the baby feeds closely spaced in the evening, can help the baby sleep for more extended periods at night.

4 | Create a Suitable Sleep Environment

The baby's sleeping room should resemble the womb environment, being quiet, at an appropriate temperature, and dark. White noise, such as a dedicated baby white noise machine or a fan, can be used.

5 | Avoid Screens Before Bed

One common mistake in establishing a bedtime routine is exposing the baby to screens before sleep. Transitioning the baby to the sleeping room half an hour before bedtime with dim lights is recommended, creating a calm environment.

6 | Follow a Pre-Sleep Routine

Having a daily bedtime routine prepares the baby for sleep. This can include informing the baby at the same time each day that it's time to sleep, changing diapers, closing curtains, and singing a lullaby. The routine doesn't need to be lengthy, avoiding prolonged activities.

7 | Put the Baby in the Crib While Awake

It's essential to place the baby in the crib or designated sleeping area while they are still awake but drowsy, which is better than putting them down after falling asleep completely.

8 | Don’t Pick Up the Baby if He Wakes up

One common mistake is immediately picking up the baby when they wake up at night. If the baby is not crying or in pain, gentle patting and talking to the baby while in the crib may be sufficient.

Is Nighttime Breastfeeding Necessary?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Some babies may need nighttime breastfeeding because they did not consume enough during the day or require more milk due to a growth spurt.

Should the Baby be Woken up for Feeding?

In the first few weeks after birth, the baby must breastfeed every three hours, even if it requires waking the baby up at night. If the baby is not gaining weight normally, more frequent feedings may be necessary. However, if the baby is gaining weight appropriately and is breastfeeding eight or more times during the day, it may be unnecessary to wake them up for nighttime feeding.

Sleeping patterns for infants are complex and depend on various factors. Following the above tips can make infant sleep less complicated and stressful for both parents and baby.

dr sally.webp
Sally Al BeerBreastfeeding Counselor & Newborn Care Specialist

Sally graduated with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the University of Sharjah. She moved to Ontario Canada where she worked as a pharmacist for several years. Meanwhile, she had two children and received great support from breastfeeding consultants. She enjoyed the breastfeeding journey which drove her to volunteer to help new mothers in this journey as well. She found her passion in the field of mother and baby and continued to volunteer after returning to live in the UAE, until she became an accredited breastfeeding specialist providing support to hundreds of breastfeeding mothers, by helping them overcome the challenges of breastfeeding.

Related post