Bedtime Routine Checklist for Babies

Bedtime Routine Checklist for Babies

Establishing a consistent bedtime routine is one of the best ways to help your baby sleep through the night. A relaxing routine signals to your little one that it’s time to unwind and get ready for bed. This can make the transition smoother and help them fall asleep more easily.

When creating a bedtime routine, it’s important to keep it simple, consistent and include soothing activities. Typically a bedtime routine for babies takes 30-60 minutes.

Here is a checklist of steps to follow:

Bath Time

Giving your baby a warm bath is a soothing part of the bedtime routine. It helps relax their muscles and gets them clean and ready for bed. Keep the water warm but not hot and use gentle baby wash and shampoo. After the bath, dry them thoroughly and put on pajamas and a clean diaper.


A gentle baby massage helps promote relaxation before bed. Use a lightweight lotion or baby oil and softly massage their arms, legs, back and tummy. This nurturing touch helps them bond with you and unwind. Massage for 5-10 minutes ending with long, calming strokes.


Offer your baby a feeding around 30 minutes before bedtime. Breastfeed or bottle feed as part of your routine. Having a full tummy makes them sleepy and comfortable. Burp and change diaper after feeding if needed.

Bedtime Story

Reading or telling a short, calming story signals to your baby it’s time for sleep. Choose books with simple images, soft colors and a soothing tone. Cuddle them close while reading and keep lights dimmed. Stories with lullabies are great before bed.


Sing or play soft lullabies to lull your baby to sleep. Gentle music has a soothing effect on little ones and makes them drowsy. If singing, keep your voice quiet and soothing. Or play lullabies from a mobile, app or sound machine.

mother lullaby for baby


Have your baby’s favorite blanket, stuffed animal or lovey nearby to comfort them to sleep. The familiar scent and texture of special loveys bring security at bedtime. Place them in the crib for your baby to cuddle as they drift off.

White Noise

White noise blocks out disruptive household sounds that might disturb your baby’s sleep. The soothing shushing creates a calming environment. Use a sound machine, fan or white noise app set to a low volume. Nature sounds work well too.

Darkened Room

Keep the nursery nice and dark to signal to your baby that it’s time for sleep. Close the curtains or blinds and avoid bright lights. Install a dim nightlight if needed or try the hallway light. Darkness tells their body to produce melatonin.

Calm Environment

Your baby will have an easier time falling asleep if their sleep environment is tranquil and low-stimulation. Keep phones, televisions and bright screens out of the room. Ensure the temperature is comfortable but not too warm. A peaceful setting helps them relax.

Say Goodnight

Conclude your bedtime routine by giving hugs, kisses and saying goodnight to your little one. Use the same phrase like “Goodnight, I love you” as your signal that bedtime has arrived. This consistency is comforting and helps them understand it’s time for sleeping.

baby sleep in deep

Additional Tips for Creating a Successful Bedtime Routine:

Be Consistent

Sticking to the same routine every night is key. Babies thrive on consistency and predictability. Keep the activities in the same order and around the same time each night to strengthen the sleep cue association. Even when traveling or off schedule, try to maintain consistency.

Create a Calm and Relaxing Environment

Make the bedroom and surrounding environment peaceful and soothing. Use dim lighting, soft music, and warm temperatures to promote drowsiness. Minimize external noises and activity. A tranquil ambience tells your baby’s body it’s time to unwind.

Avoid Stimulating Activities Before Bed

In the hour leading up to bedtime, skip any overly energetic play or interactive activities. Things like roughhousing, noisy toys and TV can overstimulate them making it harder to fall asleep. Opt for calming activities to transition to rest.

Make Sure Your Baby is Tired Before Putting Them to Bed

It’s important your baby is tired enough to go to sleep easily. Watch for yawning, rubbing eyes, disengagement and fussiness as signs of sleepiness. Adjust nap schedule if needed so they are primed for bed at night. An overtired baby will struggle to go down.

Put them in the crib while drowsy but still awake. This helps them learn to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own. Implementing the same relaxing routine each night will soon have your baby sleeping soundly.

Be flexible and find what works best for your baby’s schedule and temperament. Learn here more about bedtime routine habits and tips.