Make bedtime the best time.
If you’ve read any books about sleep for children, you know the importance of having a consistent bedtime routine. It’s a time to slow down and connect with your little ones at the end of the day. Children find security in knowing what to expect; routines are one way to provide cues about what is coming next.
It’s never too early or too late to establish a bedtime routine.
Newborns (0-3 months)
If you have a newborn, your first few weeks will likely be spent recovering from birth and getting established with feeding so baby is growing at a healthy rate. In those early weeks, you should be helping baby get plenty of sleep, whether they are peacefully snoozing in a bassinet or they’re cozied up in your arms while you binge a new show. There is no need to worry about sleep associations like rocking, holding, or even feeding to sleep in the first few weeks when you are focusing on healing and just making it through the day with a baby who is well-fed and sleeping safely (according to the American Academy of Pediatric’s ABCs of Safe Sleep)
A great time to begin working toward a consistent bedtime routine is around 6-8 weeks so that hopefully it’s a normal part of every evening by 8-12 weeks. It can be a gradual process where you try different things and settle on a routine that works for your family.
In the early stages of this process, you may rock baby all the way to sleep at the end of your bedtime routine, while taking care not to feed baby to sleep. As you settle into the routine, you can experiment with putting your baby down drowsy, but still awake, offering them some extra soothing support if they need it while they settle to sleep in their crib/bassinet. You can eventually move toward putting baby down calm, but wide awake. At first, you can expect baby to need extra soothing while they lay in the crib and get comfortable falling asleep on their back, but eventually you can give them space to fall asleep completely independently.