baby lying down on tummy

22 ideas to create a custom bedtime routine (and help baby find sleep fast)

Looking for ideas for a bedtime routine for your baby?

It’s super easy to create your own. A little bit further down, I give you 22 ideas to help get your started.

But first, w
hat kind of ritual do YOU have to get yourself to sleep?

Maybe you drink a cup of herbal tea and have a bath before putting on your pyjamas. Maybe you wash your face and put lotion on your hands before hopping into bed and reading a few pages in a book. 

Or maybe your bedtime ritual looks more like mine, where the whole household goes to bed at the same time.  You all plop down on the bed together and read a bedtime story, nurse baby to sleep, and then pass out yourself.

Either way, these little routines and rituals help prepare your mind and body for a night of sleep - no matter how speedy or drawn out they might be.

They help wind us down and signal to our brains that it’s time to relax, making it easier to find sleep. It’s no different for your baby – they benefit from it the same way you do (and it’s a great way to build some connection time with them) – but it’s going to be a while before they can do this for themselves. Until then, they need your help parenting them to sleep.

To build your own bedtime routine, use this list of 22 ideas as your “sleep menu” to create a custom routine that works for you and your baby. It doesn’t need to be lengthy to be effective – even just 2 or 3 of these ideas is enough – and feel free to add in your own “ingredients”, too!

pink brushstrokes

22 ideas to build a custom bedtime routine - and help baby find sleep fast

  • Sing a lullaby *
  • Read a book *
  • Dance with baby in your arms
  • Play quietly
  • Bounce them
  • Rock them
  • Feed them
  • Nurse them
  • Baby massage
  • Bath
  • Change into pyjamas
  • Say “goodnight” to each room in your house
  • Wear them in a carrier
  • Go for a walk at dusk
  • Watch a quiet show*
  • Call grandma / grandpa / loved one to say goodnight
  • Brush teeth/gums
  • Say “goodnight” to a special stuffed animal*
  • Drive around the block
  • Turn on the white noise machine
  • Listen to a bedtime meditation*
  • Play some soft music*


∗ These suggestions become even more powerful if it’s the same one each night, making bedtime even more predictable. 

Remember, none of these are “bad habits” - they're tools for you to keep in your parenting library.

Note: If you find yourself feeling confused about sleep advice in general (like when you’re told that “nursing to sleep is a bad habit”), read this article on 3 ways to cut through BS sleep advice

What helps your baby to sleep today may not work next week, and what doesn’t work today might work next month – so keep this list handy for whenever you need to try something else. Don’t be scared to switch things up if your routine isn’t working as well anymore. 

Do you already have a ritual with your baby? Let me know what works for you in the comments!

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