How To Get Your Newborn on a Sleep Schedule
I have been a stay at home mom for, going on 15 years now, and I think one of the most asked questions I have gotten is how to get your baby on a schedule, especially at night. Being a stay at home mom it does sometimes seem easier just to let your baby guide your sleep schedules and theirs but in the long run you are going to want to at least attempt to get them on a routine.
At different ages the kids should be on different schedules so this is more geared towards newborns through about 6 months.
This seems to be a good feeding time. It always went along with what time we normally ate dinner as a family so adding in a babies feeding just made sense. It does make it easier to keep a routine long term if you start early. Feeding a baby with the rest of the family will help them transition when they are older.
After dinner bath has just been something I have always done. Usually after a little one eats they need a little cleaning. It also helps to soothe them and relax them for a good sleep. If you have older kids this is a good time for them to maybe do a quick clean up of any toys or stuff they may have left out. Or a good time to get things ready for school or the following day. It will give you a chance to spend time with your baby and allow them the ability to clean up after themselves. During bath I always used Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo. After bath I would rub them down with the Bedtime Lotion. It's been 15 years and I still have the kids use these products.
After everything else is done it is off to bed. The kids when they were younger would go to bed at 7:30 pm. As they were older I did not expect them to fall asleep right away so they were allowed to read or watch a movie and then everything went off. When they were babies though I would take this time to rock or pat them to sleep. Some babies will lay in their cribs or bassinets and coo themselves to sleep but I always held mine until they were asleep and then move them.
More than likely your little one will wake up a few times at night...just make sure to not fully engage them and end up waking them up. It does take time, and patience, and alot of being consistent to get them on a good routine but the one above is what has worked best for us. Once everyone is asleep or at least in their rooms I have time to do dishes or clean anything that needs to be cleaned before I get a little bit of a break. This is also the time I try to get caught up on anything, it is usually the most quiet.
What is your bedtime routine?