How To Start A Routine With A Newborn

How To Start A Bedtime Routine

Should I start a routine with my 2-week old baby?

Time is not a concept babies are born with. Newborns dont know that nights are for sleeping and days are for waking, so its perfectly normal for them to sleep in short bursts and wake every two to three hours to eat. Around six to eight weeks, they begin to develop their circadian rhythms and usually start sleeping for longer stretches of time at night. By the four month mark, most babies are physically and neurologically capable of going throughout the night without a feed .

Around this age, pick a time, say between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., to begin regularly putting baby down to bed for the night. One thing that makes it easier to stick with a regular nighttime routine is sticking with a regular daytime routine. So try to keep naps and feedings at regular times, and try using similar cues and patterns when putting your baby down for naps as you do for bedtime .

How To Create A Bedtime Routine For Your Newborn

Here at Nanit, were dedicated to revolutionizing the way babies sleep by putting amazing technology in the hands of parents everywhere. Were moms, dads and sleep fans ourselves, so we get that sleep is so much more than what you do at night. Its the fuel that keeps your family going, that secret sauce that powers your best memories.

With babys arrival, though, it can often feel like a thing of the past, right up there with chariot racing, shoulder pads and The Rachel. But with a little planning, you and baby could be off to dreamland in no time. The trick? Setting up a sleep routine that actually works.

Forget what youve heard about intense, three hours-long bedtime rituals. Putting a sleep schedule in place doesnt have to be a nightmare. Here are some easy steps to get babies four months and up into a routine that means better sleep for the whole family.

  • Get a head start
  • Lets dive in and break these down in depth:

    Set A Bedtime Routine

    A study of 405 mothers — with infants between 7 months and 36 months old — showed that babies who followed a nightly bedtime routine went to sleep easier, slept better, and cried out in the middle of the night less often.

    Some parents start their baby’s bedtime routine as early as 6 to 8 weeks old. Your baby’s routine can be any combination of regular bedtime activities. The keys to success:

    • Play active games during the day and quiet games in the evening. This keeps your baby from getting too excited right before bedtime but gets them tired from the day’s activities.
    • Keep activities the same and in the same order, night after night.
    • Make every activity calm and peaceful, especially toward the end of the routine.
    • Many babies enjoy bathing right before bedtime, which calms them down.
    • Save your baby’s favorite activity for last, and do it in their bedroom. This will help them look forward to bedtime and associate their sleep space with things they like to do.
    • Make nighttime conditions in your baby’s bedroom consistent. If they wake up in the middle of the night, the sounds and lights in the room should be the same as when they fell asleep. If you need to feed or change your baby during the night, keep the lights low and the talking to a minimum. Too much stimulation can make it hard for them to settle again.


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    Snuggle And Rock Him To Sleep

    If you have a rocking chair like this in your house, use it to rock your newborn baby to sleep.

    The rocking motion from the chair is a simple reminder of his time in mamas belly and can help ease him into a comfortable sleep with little effort on your part.

    This right here played a huge role in our lives when my kids were still establishing their respective routines. I remembered putting them in here after I snuggled with them. As soon as it stopped, I moved them to the bassinet.

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    How To Keep Babies Awake Long Enough To Feed:

    Sleep Training: How To Start the Moment You Bring Baby ...
    • Rub their feet and hands
    • Wipe their forehead, neck, and face with a wet wipe
    • Strip baby down to their diaper and un-swaddle or wrap them so they are not too warm and snug
    • Burp thoroughly when you change nursing sides, or halfway through with the bottle
    • Before a feeding, put your newborn on the ground for a little tummy time while you prepare to feed them, theyll kick around and wake themselves up a bit

    When you begin nursing, encourage your baby to take a full feed. This will vary depending on the baby, but it will not be 5 minutes, then falling asleep.

    If your baby falls asleep after only a few minutes, gently rouse them and encourage them to continue feeding.

    If you can get your baby to take full feeds for the first week theyll naturally rest well, both day and night.

    I know it can be super hard for you to get through this , but you will get through it.

    Theres a tendency to just let baby feed for a few minutes here and there and sleep here and there. This feels natural, but if you are a first time mom particularly its very hard to begin to understand babys cues.


    Because baby seems to be fussing a lot and then falling asleep a lot and you dont know when theyre tired or when theyre hungry. THIS IS WHY routines are so beneficial to baby and mom.

    Baby doesnt need to cry to make their needs known if they are just well fed and well slept from the get go.

    Sample One Week Schedule:

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    How To Choose A Morning Wake Time:

    • Choose a time that is suitable to your family routine and consistently feed them at this time.
    • Every morning, aim to feed your baby at this time even if theyve fed as soon a 1.5 hours before.
    • If need be, gently rouse your baby up around 4 or 4:30 am and feed them as full a feeding as they will take, then wake them up again at the time youve determined is their morning wake time.
    • And, if they wake earlier than this time but are not crying for milk, cuddle, hold, play with, and rock baby until that time comes. If the baby is extremely hungry, feed baby of course. Try to get a full feed in there and then get back on routine throughout the day.
    • Remember consistency is key. Your babys body will get used to eating at a certain time and will slowly but surely start sleeping a lot closer to that time.

    At this point your baby takes full feeds, has a good routine, is learning to put himself to sleep, and has established dream feeds and morning wake times.

    You are nearly there! You are a newborn sleep pro!

    If you are going back to work at this point, you may want to teach your baby to sleep well at someone elses house.

    How Much Should A 3

    Every baby is different, but a typical 3-month-old needs between 14 and 17 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period, including three to four naps totaling four to six hours. However, it’s also normal for 3-month-olds to sleep a little more or less than that. Your 3-month-old may sleep for longer stretches at night, possibly five hours at a time. Dont panic if your little one is up more frequently, though some babies still wake to eat every few hours at this stage.

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    The Key Element For A Baby Routine

    Whether you are starting a routine with your child at one day old or one year old, there is one key element you must put into place if you want to see success. This element is no respecter of age, circumstance, weather, experiencenothing. No one is exempt if you really want to see success and the benefits of a routine for your baby.

    You must dedicate some time to establish the routine.

    You must dedicate this time with little to no disruptions from what the routine will be. No nap skipping. No late nights. No vacations. You dont even want to disrupt your little one for a trip to the grocery store.

    Be dedicated to the routine. You cant have a routine your baby follows if you never really taught baby what the routine is, right? If you want a routine to stick, stick to the routine.

    Whats The Best Age To Begin A Bedtime Routine

    Creating A Routine For A Happy Mom and Happy Baby

    Most newborns sleep around the clock quite easily. So, unless youre a routine-lover you dont need to start a bedtime routine right away.

    Instead, 2-3 months is a great age to introduce a bedtime routine, because this is when your baby is learning to distinguish night versus day. If you have an older baby or toddler, its never too late to begin a relaxing evening ritual, as children of all ages will benefit.

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    How Many Naps Should A 1 Month Old Take In A Day

    Since babies are born without an organized circadian rhythm, it can be difficult to determine what constitutes a nap and what constitutes night sleep. We dont recommend trying to follow a specific baby sleep schedule at this age. Newborn sleep tends to be without a pattern, meaning you’re likely to see both short and long periods of sleep, punctuated by frequent wakings for nourishment and comfort.

    Heres a sample of what your one month olds day may look like. However, dont be concerned if your day looks quite different. Your newborn will spend most of their time in light sleep we can’t control or predict when deep sleep will happen, or how long naps will be, until theyre older.

    6-Nap Schedule

    9:00 PM 1.5 hours of being awake before bedtime

    How To Establish A Perfect Baby Nap Schedule

    To enforce a baby nap schedule or not that is the question.

    Right after birth, most parents choose to go with the flow and let baby take the lead on when they want to eat, sleep, etc.

    And thats all fine and dandy until you realize that means your entire day revolves around your new little bundle of joy. Its extremely difficult to accomplish even the smallest and simplest of tasks, things like eating and showering.

    Needless to say, the idea of creating structure with a baby nap schedule is very appealing to many parents.

    Are you considering putting your baby on a routine? What are the pros and cons? When can you start? How do you start?

    Lets dive in.

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    In This Guide:

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    Q: How Often Do 1 Month Old Babies Sleep

    1 month olds need to sleep quite often aim to give your baby the opportunity to sleep after about 30 – 90 minutes of wakefulness. Look for sleepy cues in order to help determine when your newborn will be ready to sleep.When your baby starts looking away from you , or rubbing/putting their forehead on you, theres a good chance they’re ready for a little snooze. Ideally, you’ll give your baby a chance to sleep before they reach the overtired stage .

    Examples Of What A Daily Routine For A Newborn Baby Looks Like

    The Key Element To Starting a Baby Routine

    If you are wondering what a Gina Ford daily routine looks like, heres a glimpse

    Week 1 to week 2

    SLEEPING TIME: Baby should sleep at most 5.5 hours during the day divided into three naps .

    FEEDING TIME: The baby should receive 7 feeds at 7am, 10am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm, 6pm and 10 to 11.15pm. Ideally, the baby should be awake at 7am with a clean diaper before the first feed.

    Whats more, newborns shouldnt stay awake for over 1.5 hours consecutively during the day otherwise, they will start to overtire.

    NIGHT ROUTINE: Bathing time coupled with a massage and feeding should be done before 6.15pm. He/she should be ready for bed by 7pm. Feed the baby at 10pm, change the diaper and settle them back to sleep.

    Remember, newborns shouldnt be left to sleep more than 4 hours at night. Feed between 2.30am, and 3.30am. However, formula-fed babies weighing more than 8 pounds can be left to sleep longer .

    Week 2 to Week 4

    During weeks 2 to 4, you should REDUCE THE DAYTIME NAPS TO A MAXIMUM OF 5 HOURS, provided the baby is sleeping and feeding well. Instead of sleeping from 3.30pm to 5pm, change the sleeping time to 4-5pm.

    Week 4 to week 6

    Provided the baby is gaining weight as required, remove the 11am feed and push the 4pm nap to last from 4.15pm to 5pm. The baby should sleep a maximum of 4.75 hours during the day.

    Week 6 to week 8

    Week 8 to week 12

    The feeds remain the same, but the daytime naps reduce to a maximum of 3.5 hours. The evening nap should last 15 minutes only .

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    When Will Baby Drop Naps

    Just when you think youve got the whole nap routine down, here comes a curveball: After age 6 months, and again at around age 1, your baby will most likely drop one of his naps from his daily schedule. The exact timing for dropping a nap varies from baby to baby, but generally speaking, when your baby is ready to move from three naps to two or from two naps to one, its because hes ready.

    Babies drop naps as they age, and parents would be wise to adapt their schedules to make sure theyre getting enough nighttime sleep. Somewhere between the ages of 3 and 4, your toddler will give up naps entirely. It may seem like an inconceivable loss: Without that afternoon nap, how will you have any time to yourself? The good news is that when your child is ready to give up naptime, bedtime tends to become easier. If your toddler is running at full steam all day, by evening hell usually be tired enough to drop off to dreamland without much of a battle.

    From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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