Sweet Dreams: Beginning Your Bedtime Ritual
Do newborns need a bedtime ritual? “Need” may be a strong word, as your newborn will be awake and sleeping at all different times of the day and night. However, establishing a bedtime ritual at the very start will set up good habits for you and will be a wonderful opportunity for bonding with your baby.
Choosing a set time will help you determine when to begin the ritual. If your baby is two months old or younger, this is really just a goal and can have a wide range on either side.
Decide what you want to include in your ritual. Here are a few options (pick a few or all or think of your own): bath, story, lullaby, swaddle, snuggling, rocking, pajama time, fresh diaper, infant massage, bedtime snack, or a meal. Choose activities that are fairly low-key. Something stimulating will not help you settle your little one down.
When picking your bedtime rituals, note that it is strongly recommended that you include reading aloud to your baby from day one, according to the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital.
Researchers say that reading aloud to your newborn teaches them about communication, builds listening skills, enhances memory, and more. Also, remember to pick bedtime rituals that you enjoy too so that bedtime is soothing and enjoyable for everyone.