What Is Your Baby's Bedtime Routine?

Updated on January 19, 2009
B.A. asks from Arlington Heights, IL
7 answers

Hi Moms,
We're hoping to get our almost 4-month old on a more consistent sleep schedule at night soon. Now, he falls asleep in my or my husband's arms, and then we put him down in a Pack & Play in our room, where he stays until about 2:45 am, and then he comes into bed with us. But as soon as we feel ready, we're going to start transitioning him to his own crib. All of the books I'm reading suggest following a consistent bedtime routine. But my question is, what routine do you think works best? Bath, then feeding, then book and lullaby? Or book then bath then feeding? Or what? And where does the last diaper change fit in there? Please tell me what has worked for you. Thanks!

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answers from Chicago on

Mason is 7 months old, and we've had him on this routine since he was 3 months old. He's been a great sleeper ever since!
6:15: bath
6:25/6:30: PJs and diaper
6:35: bottle

He goes right into bed after the bottle, whether he's awake or asleep. Most of the time he's awake now. He learned to put himself to sleep doing this early on.

He either sleeps all the way through until 6:30 the next day, or he may get up once.

You have to decide what you want his routine to be, and what works best for you. I do a book at naptime, but not at night, since I don't want to turn any lights on. Bedtime for Mason has ALWAYS been in the dark.

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answers from Chicago on

Hi Becky. My daughter is 6 1/2 months old and we have been doing this bedtime routine for the past 2 weeks. It seems to work pretty well and she sleeps through the night until around 6:30 or 7:30 am. (She woke up once in the past 2 weeks sometime around 4 am because her diaper soaked through)

5:00 pm --vegetables for dinner

6:00 pm --quiet time in bedroom (play w/toys that don't make noise)

6:30 pm--change diaper, put in sleep sack

6:40 pm--nurse

6:50 pm--read 3 books, sing 3 songs, rock for awhile

7:00 pm-- put in crib drowsy but awake

She usually falls asleep in 5 to 20 minutes without much fuss

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answers from Chicago on

Since I didn't give a bath every night, I didn't want that to be part of the routine. (We give baths before dinner).

dinner (vegetables/meat/carb such as potato or pasta or rice)
quiet play
diaper change
bed, awake, but drowsy with pacifier and patting back.

Mine were in bed, asleep by 7ish most nights and slept through the night. If they did awaken, we'd give a pacifier
and pat baby's back (no light, no words, "shushing".

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answers from Chicago on

Hi Becky -

Our daughter is 5 1/2 months - we've been doing variations of this routine since she was about 3 months old (routine is getting a little longer now that she can pay more attention/interact more). Times are approximate

5:00 dinner (bottle and rice cereal/fruit - probably will switch to veggies once we start those)
6:00 bath
6:15 pjs (we dim the lights and play lullaby music for the rest of the bed time routine)
6:20 small bottle
6:30 story - we read 1 or 2 short stories like Good night Moon
6:35 Rock, put on white noise, say "Good night" to our room
6:40 In crib, drowsy but awake and typically falls asleep in 5 minutes.

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answers from Chicago on

Hi Becky: When my son was 4 months old, he was already sleeping through the night in his own crib. Here's what we did: 6:45 bath, 7:00 last diaper change and pajamas on, 7:05 nursing, 7:30 holding him upright and patting his back until he falls asleep, then transition him to his swaddler and put him in his bed. He would then sleep until 7 the next day. Right after his 1st birthday we started incorporating things like stories and music. We would do night-time diaper and pajamas, stories and then I would start his music c.d. (Baby Einstein Lullaby c.d.) and put him in his crib so he could fall asleep on his own. He always fell asleep by the end of the c.d. This is the routine he still has, and he still goes to sleep at 7:30 and sleeps until 7 the next day. I know people say not to hold babies while they fall asleep because it teaches them bad sleeping habits, but it worked well for us until one day it didn't work anymore, and it only took 2 days to adjust him to the new sleeping arrangement of falling asleep on his own. Good luck!

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answers from Chicago on

I think 4 months is pretty young but you can start a routine if you want. I have a 4 month old and we pretty much follow what you and your hubby do. With my first child I was all about routine/schedule etc but with the second I am more lax. You will have to figure out what activity is calming to you and your child and go with that. Some moms give baths, but for some kids that was too stimulating. Some moms nurse to sleep and then put them down. There is no right way just the way that works for the three of you. The most important thing is the consistent aspect but whatever routine you chose will be fine. You will figure it out and your baby will give you some cues about what he likes the best or what works for him.

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answers from Chicago on

Keep it under 45 min. At 4 months it should be a little quicker because you don't have to read much. I do a bath, diaper and pj's, nurse or bottle while you read or sing or read first and last a little burping and rocking. When my daughter was really little I only bathed her a few times a week because I wrongfully thought the baths made her excema worse. Once we started doing daily baths it went much smoother.

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