Babies like routine. Routine helps the baby to feel secure in what is a new environment for them. Like you, babies are also navigating their way through new experiences, and routine helps make them comfortable.
What’s more, a bed time routine is a wonderful way to bond with your little bundle at the end of a long day. The time spent cuddling, bathing, singing lullabies, etc., are some of the coziest — and calmest — you’ll get to spend with your precious little one.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind
You don’t need to establish a routine right away. When you bring your baby home, those first few days will be spent understanding her needs and preferences, so don’t push for a routine. When your baby is about 6 to 8 weeks old, you can start following a pattern every night, so she will start appreciating the consistency and predictability.
Having understood how your baby’s body clock works, you can now decide on the time to start your routine. Ideally, your routine should be before your baby’s longest stretch of sleep. So for example, if she tends to nap at 8 and wakes up again by 10, before sleeping for 5 hours, set a routine for 9 or so. This will help relax her for the long haul, and give you some much needed rest as well.
Although a routine is desirable, take it one step at a time. Introduce one ritual at a time, so that if there is anything that your baby does not like, you can change it. From cuddle time, to bath time, from singing to your baby, to a gentle massage, there are many things you can do with your baby.
At some point, you need to start understanding the point at which your baby is drowsy enough to fall asleep, but not fully asleep yet. At this point, you can place her in her bed, so that she gets used to falling asleep on her own. This will help you in the long run, saving you time when she is a bit older.
Finally, it is important to keep an open mind. Babies change as they grow and are exposed to new experiences. What worked for the first two months may not work anymore. Single out each activity and check what your baby is most comfortable with, and adapt accordingly, for a fuss-free, relaxing bed time routine.