Baby Bed Time Routine | 5 Easy Steps for Busy Moms

This baby bed time routine post is sponsored by Summer™.

Over the past 6+ years of baby bed time routines for these 4 crazy children I have come to learn and value the benefit of easy steps in a routine has for busy moms and our babies. Unfortunately, my job and the chaos of having several little kiddos has made it very hard to consistently maintain a “TIMED” routine that followed the clock.

I had always thought a baby bedtime routine was about time on a clock, but I’ve learned timing is actually more important for a bed time routine that works when you’re a busy mom. Paying attention to babies cues (more on this in STEP 1) and allows more flexibility into the bedtime routine which, if you’re a busy mom and can’t always rely on your evenings to happen by some external time clock, is extremely valuable.

I hope this helps someone, I wish someone would have told me early on in this parenting thing that the baby’s STAGE of day and cues are so much more important than time on a clock. 

Here are our 5 steps for baby bed time routines along with some tips on maintaining flexibility as a busy mom – this is basically what we do before putting Paxton to bed and it seems to help get him calm and ready for snoozing. 

STEP 1: Use Activity-Based Timing

Babies tend to maintain an activity-based schedule for the first 4-6 months of life. It’s made up of 3 things: Eating, Sleeping, Playing. The order that they arrange those is dependent on the baby, but for Pax his is always Sleep —> Eat —> Play —> Sleep —> Eat —> Play.

So, if at 7:15pm Pax woke up from a nap and I fed him, then based on his activity schedule he’s done Sleep —> Eat and now he’s ready to be awake for a while and Play…that’s our cue to start the bedtime proceedings.

STEP 2: Bathtime feat Summer Bath

Many people swear by baby bedtime routines always including an actual bath. For us this is an optional step some days, as babies don’t need to be bathed every single day. That being said, even on nights he doesn’t need an actual bath, the flexibility of Summer’s baby bath seat is still a very beneficial part of the routine.

He can sit in the seat while I bathe Milo, they can be in the tub together (even though Pax is still small), and the adjustable height lets me elevate his head enough to give Milo a good amount of water in the tub. For kitchen baths like in the picture it’s SUPER nice that the water just runs right off the seat and into the sink. When baby is really tiny and you can’t submerge them this makes a huge difference. Please check them out if you’re looking for a great baby bath seat!

STEP 3: Lotions and Jammies

We try to get some lotion on at least the little kiddos, get jammies and then herd the big kids upstairs.

They all sleep in the same room (by choice…on a mattress on the floor…don’t judge) and usually my husband is in charge of getting them to bed.

If we’re solo-parenting for some reason (like if one of us is hiding in the closet eating ice cream with the door locked) then whoever is doing bedtime will shuffle the big kids upstairs to entertain each other while getting the baby to sleep and then join them for books and stories after he’s in bed.

STEP 4: Swaddle & Rock or Hold

Usually by this point Pax is sleepy-eyed and I will swaddle him and we’ll rock or hang out for a bit. There’s a lot of great swaddles on Amazon.

I don’t usually nurse him to sleep, but there’s nothing wrong with that if you want to. I just find that we’re usually not hungry – probably because of the order he has his little stages in.

STEP 5: In Bed Almost (Not Fully) Asleep

By this point he’s usually circled back around to his natural sleep stage. I will rock him until those eyes are heavy and try to put him down (on his BACK!) in his bed when he’s groggy, but not asleep.

If he’s completely awake he fusses and if he’s totally asleep he wakes up in an hour. Putting him down very sleepy, but still awake, really seems to help with that transition and extend the first sleep stretch.

As you can see this routine plays on his cues – he was awake and ready to play, so we “played.” We took a bath, we sang songs, we got ready for bed, and now he’s ready to sleep again. It’s way harder to coax a baby to sleep then it is to wait until they’re ready for that on their own. 

Honestly, none of my babies have been excellent sleepers. However, Pax is the first one I’ve really understood these concepts with and I’d say he’s the best out of all of them by an order of magnitude of at least 634x. I attribute a good portion of that to my understanding this baby activity cycle and crafting this baby bedtime routine with 5 flexible steps that works so well for us (despite unpredictable timing).

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As you guys know, when I do sponsored posts or use affiliate I always request the product to try first and only continue with the deal if I feel I can genuinely recommend the product to you. Rest assured Summer™ nails it for affordability, functionality, and versatility. I am thoroughly impressed. Thank you so much to Summer™ for sponsoring this post. They have a wonderful team that I have enjoyed working with and hope to continue working with in the future!