What Time To Put A Newborn To Bed

Leave Baby Alone In The Crib Or Bassinet

time to put the baby to bed

Baby should sleep alone on her back without bumpers, stuffed animals, blankets or pillows.

Its okay to start using a pillow and blanket when your child is a toddler and old enough to move out of a crib and into a toddler bed ideally between 2 and 3 years old.

If youre worried about baby being too cold at night, then consider a wearable blanket .

Are crib bumpers safe? Its best to avoid crib bumpers altogether. Like pillows and blankets, bumpers can increase the risk for suffocation and strangulation in younger babies. There’s no solid evidence that they actually prevent injuries in the crib, either.

Lighten Up On Summer Nights

On warm nights, keep it light and breezy a basic short-sleeve cotton or organic-cotton bodysuit or T-shirt with a muslin or cotton swaddle or sleep sack layered on top is fine.

A bodysuit or tee on its own is also OK if its particularly sweltering. Of course, if you have the air conditioner pumping, you can probably stick with cotton long-sleeve pajamas with footies.

Sample Sleep Schedule For A 3

The best sleep schedule for your 3-month-old ultimately depends on his needs. While your child’s routine will probably still be unpredictable at 3 months, a typical day might look like this:

  • 7:00 a.m.: Awake
  • 6:30 p.m.: Bedtime routine
  • 7:00 p.m.: Bed

This sample schedule assumes your little one is awake for 90 minutes at time and naps for exactly one hour throughout the day. However, keep in mind that babies at this age can stay awake for 60 to 90 minutes at a time, while naps can be between 30 minutes and two hours.

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Bedtime Routine For A Toddler And Newborn

If you have both a toddler and a newborn, the bedtime routines can be a bit more challenging depending on the age of your toddler.

If you have a 12-18-month-old and a newborn, your toddler might be too distracting and unable to be quiet while you put your newborn to bed. For that reason, I recommend you put your toddler to bed first and then your newborn later. If your newborns bedtime is still late, this should be easy to do. You can put your newborn in a sling or wrap if they are fussy and need to be held a lot. If your baby is content, you can consider putting them in a bouncer and give your toddler more individualized attention.

If you have a 2-year old or 3-year old, your toddler might be better able to help put the baby to bed if the time to put your newborn to bed has moved to earlier than your toddlers bedtime. If this is the case, ask your toddler to help such as getting the diaper, helping with the baby massage, etc.

If both your toddler and newborn are going to bed around the same time, you can try combining the bedtime routines but you will need to allow for extra time . Toddlers can delay things quite a bit. Here is a sample combined bedtime routine for a toddler and newborn:

Preschoolers: 3 5 Years

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Your preschooler may be even more adept at avoiding bedtime, so the need for a consistent, ideal bedtime and soothing routine grows. Preschoolers typically need 10 to 11 hours of sleep at night. If your preschooler wakes at 6 a.m. then he needs to be heading to dreamland about 7 p.m. If he seems to wake up too early , consider using a wake up clock which lights up when it is ok to get out of bed in the morning. Make sure you have ruled out the other common causes of early rising.

What ARE the most common causes of early rising?

A preschoolers bedtime routine can be a highlight of their day and a memory-making time spent with you. Make it a happy, warm, nurturing part of your relationship. The routine, done in the same order each night, can include:

  • putting on pjs
  • reading a short book or singing a song
  • getting into bed

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How To Put Your Baby To Bed Without Them Crying

With small changes and a little more patience, you can train your baby not to cry when you put them down. It is essential to teach them how to self-soothe so that both you and the baby can have a good nights sleep.

  • Sleep train them. There are various methods to sleep train your baby and help them fall asleep without crying when you put them down. Sleep training also helps your little one develop self-soothing skills. You could opt for either of these two sleep training methods: the cry it out, method or the no tears, method. Choose the one that is comfortable for you and your baby.
  • Put them in the crib in a half-sleep state. If your baby tends to fall asleep while nursing, and it leads to separation anxiety in them, put them in the crib when they are in a half-sleep state, meaning when they are on the verge of drifting into a deep sleep.
  • Use soothing techniques. It is normal for your baby to cry when you move them from a comfortable position . The best way to stop this habit of theirs is by not rushing to them and taking them into your arms as soon as they start to cry. Try to soothe them by placing them inside the crib and gently patting them.
  • Dream feed them. If the reason behind your babys crying is hunger, try dream feeding them one last time before you go to bed. This may help your baby sleep through the night without feeling hungry.


A Suggested Bedtime Routine Timeline

How long before bed you start your bedtime routine will depend on your baby. But the ideal pre-bedtime routine will last anywhere from 1 hour to 15 minutes. This will depend on your babys temperament, and even what kind of day theyve had. If the hours before bed were filled with visitors or lots of playtime, it may take a little longer to get them calm than it would have if the day was spent relaxing and snuggling with mom.

The timeline below gives an outline of what your bedtime routine should look like:

45 minutes to 1 hour before sleep: Give baby a bath, clean diaper, lotion, etc.

30 to 45 minutes before sleep: Infant massage, put jammies on and swaddle. Turn on ambient noise, make the room dim/dark.

15 to 30 minutes before sleep: Nursing/feeding, other calming activities of your choice

10 to 15 minutes before sleep: Move to babys bedroom if you havent already. Burp , and gently rock or snuggle.

5 minutes before sleep: Your baby should be very drowsy. Put them down in their crib before they fall asleep.

Sleep time: As your baby falls asleep, try leaving the room. This can be tough, but the Zen Swaddle may be able to help. Its gently weighted parts place light pressure in the same places your embrace would, giving your baby extra comfort and security, even when youre not there.

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How Much Sleep Does My Baby Need

The short answer: A LOT. Your newborn will spend the majority of time sleeping, and the rest of their time eating – this is especially true for the first few weeks. As a 6-week-old baby, your newborn will sleep up to 18 hours for every 24 hour period – in their first few days of being alive, they’ll sleep even more! Of course, as your baby grows they’ll need less and less sleep each day. Our newborn sleep schedules break it down for you and apps can help you track naps and nighttime sleep.

Zen Sleepwear is gently weighted to help soothe babies to sleep, so they can start learning healthy sleep habits while getting the rest they need.

Follow The Eat Wake Sleep Cycle


The baby wakes from sleep and immediately eats. Then the baby is awake for a while to play. Then the baby goes back to sleep.

This cycle has several purposes. First, it encourages full feedings by allowing the baby to eat immediately after waking. The baby will have the most energy immediately after waking, making him more inclined to take a full feeding and go longer between feedings.

Also, by feeding the baby after sleep rather than before sleep, the cycle prevents the baby from associating food with sleep or using food as a sleep prop. When using this cycle, a feeding before bedtime is typically only feeding before sleep.

Of course, there were times where I definitely fed my baby before sleep. He needed a little TLC for a certain nap, and I was totally fine offering it when he needed it. But for the most part, I tried to avoid feeding him right before sleep.

Note: Newborns require frequent feedings and rest to ensure healthy growth a development in the early months. Always feed your baby as frequently as your baby needs to ensure healthy weight gain.

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Not Sticking With A Sleep Schedule

Consistency is key with children, especially when it comes to sleep, says West. “They need regular naptimes and reasonably regular bedtimes to regulate day and night hormone cycles–and their little hearts and minds need the predictability to feel secure.”

Dr. Meltzer agrees: “Sleep schedules are very important for setting our internal clocks. A consistent sleep schedule will help a child get sleepy and fall asleep around the same time every day. If the schedule is constantly changing it’s like flying back and forth across time zones every night the body doesn’t know when to fall asleep. Bedtime struggles often result from an inconsistent schedule as parents may be trying to put their children to bed too early or too late .”

Of course, there’s room for some flexibility. Some days your child will nap more, and others she will nap less. “As you learn to read her sleep cues and recognize her sleep windows, you’ll be able to adjust the schedule more easily,” says West. If your little one is content, you’ve probably got a good sleep schedule going on. If she’s fussy and demanding, she may need longer naps, an earlier bedtime, a later wake-up, or all of the above.

Mom And Dad Aren’t On The Same Page

“Parents must be a united front when it comes to improving their child’s sleep,” says West. “You need to agree on what tactic you’re going to use to help your child learn to self-soothe and get a good night’s rest. It’s okay for your routines to be slightly different–Dad might like to read a few books at bedtime and Mom reads only one–but the big decisions need to be agreed upon in advance.”

Those decisions include what time Baby needs to go to sleep and whether you?re going to rely on any sleep crutches to get her to sleep. That means one parent can’t decide rocking the baby to sleep is A-OK if the other parent doesn’t want to do it at bedtime and throughout the night. Sit down together and figure out what works for both of you. And if one of you is getting up more than the other, then what makes that parent most comfortable should take precedence. Remember: Being consistent every night is imperative to the sleep process.

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When Should I See My Doctor

Never hesitate to see your doctor if you have questions about your babys sleep schedule or sleep issues. Many sleep problems have a solution, as long as you ask for help.

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.

Stop Swaddling Before Baby Rolls

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Make sure to use the right swaddling technique and always put your swaddled baby to sleep on her back.

You should stop by the time your baby is rolling over , which usually starts around 3 or 4 months. Swaddling can create a strangulation or suffocation hazard for older babies who are mobile enough to potentially wriggle their way out.

Want to play it extra safe? Stop at 2 months, before your baby begins to get her roll on.

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.

  • What to Expect the First Year, 3rd edition, Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel.

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How Much Do Premature Babies Sleep

Preterm infants can spend up to 90% of each day asleep. Although most infants younger than three months old tend to sleep between 16 and 17 hours per day, parents of preterm infants should expect their baby to sleep longer. Preterm infants are also more likely to act drowsy rather than alert when they are not sleeping.

Parents of preterm babies shouldn’t compare their baby’s sleeping habits to those of full-term babies. Instead, they should discuss their specific circumstances with a doctor if they have concerns.

Stick To An Early Bedtime

When considering how to put a baby to sleep, timing is just as important as a routine. “At around 8 weeks, babies have a rise in melatonin, a drowsy-making hormone the body releases when it’s time for sleep, which means they’re ready for an early bedtime consistent with the sun setting,” says Turgeon. “If you keep them up late instead, they become overstimulated and harder to put down.” Melatonin levels rise somewhere around sundown, but given that sundown can be anytime from 4:30 in winter to 8:30 in summer, stick to the clock and put your baby down around 6:30 or 7 p.m. for the most success. If the sun is still up, close the shades.

“A good sign of drowsiness is when the baby becomes calmthey’re less active, have a bored look, or just stare off,” says Turgeon. Don’t mistake this behavior as happiness for being awake. Seize the moment and start your bedtime routine. “The baby’s internal clock is telling them when to be awake and when to be asleep, and you want to reinforce that,” she notes.

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