Couple with sleeping baby

How to Create a Bedtime Routine for Your Baby

As babies grow, there’s a lot for them to learn—and that includes how to sleep. While all newborns can fall asleep on their own, falling and staying asleep on a set schedule is another matter. Fortunately, this is where parents and caregivers come in. Here are several newborn sleep tips to encourage a restful night of sleep for your little one and yourself.

Challenges of Newborn Sleep

Newborns need ample sleep and should ideally get 12 or more hours a day. But they may only sleep for an hour or so at a time with no set pattern to their rest habits. It will take several weeks of brain and nervous system development before babies can develop longer sleep and wake cycles.

In the early newborn days, many babies will also wake up for a feeding session at some point during the night. Your pediatrician is your best source for determining when your baby is ready to go a full night without needing to eat. Regardless of when that happens, it’s never too early to develop a newborn bedtime routine to help your little one settle down and get ready for sleep.

How to Get Baby to Sleep Through the Night

Developing and maintaining a predictable routine for baby’s bedtime is beneficial for your child. Over time, they’ll begin recognizing the cues that indicate bedtime is near. Here are some tips the experts recommend for how to get a baby to sleep.

Establish a Routine

The routine you use to help your baby get ready for bed should be soothing and encourage restfulness. Some parents use the three Bs: bath, bottle or breast for feeding, and books. A warm, soothing bath could be followed by lotion and a gentle infant massage.

After bathing and feeding, consider reading a couple of board books with your little one in a low, hushed voice. Keep in mind that the goal is to wind your child down for the evening, so this time is best for cuddles, not active play.

Create a Calming Environment

Baby with nursery humidifier

Your baby’s environment is another key part of their bedtime routine. Most newborns sleep best in a completely dark room with white noise to drown out other sounds. Ideally, the temperature should be between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

Some babies are comforted by being swaddled, but this practice must be stopped once they’re able to turn over onto their stomachs for safety reasons. Some babies reach this milestone as early as two months.

Babies should also sleep alone without extra blankets or soft objects, on their back, and in a crib or bassinet, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Placing the bassinet in a safe spot in your room may be the most convenient option for the first several months of your baby’s life, as you’ll be able to respond to them quickly when they wake throughout the night.

While a sound machine can help create white noise, the low, gentle hum of a humidifier can also help to create a calming environment for your baby. The added moisture in the room will also help support your little one’s skin and overall health.

Aim for “Drowsy but Awake”

When figuring out how to get a newborn to sleep at night, timing is everything. The idea is to put your baby down when they’re sleepy but not overtired, as they may be fussy and have trouble falling asleep. But put them to bed when they still have too much energy or are overstimulated, and it’ll be hard to get them settled. Aim for the drowsy-but-awake stage by making sure they have plenty of activity throughout the day and that their last nap isn’t too long or too close to bedtime.

Once you’ve gone through the nighttime routine, place your baby in their sleep space and say a few goodnight words. They may fuss momentarily, but give them a few minutes to see if they fall asleep before checking on them. Allowing babies to fall asleep independently helps them learn to self-soothe, which they may eventually be able to do after waking up in the middle of the night. Some parents find that offering a pacifier can also help soothe a newborn.

No matter what your baby’s bedtime routine looks like, Canopy’s Little Dreams Bundle can make it a true bonding experience. Our nursery humidifier and aroma kit are specifically designed with newborns in mind and help create a soothing, healthy sleep space.