A Gentle Evening Bath & Bedtime Routine For Baby

It’s true that a sleeping baby is indeed a beautiful sight, but for many parents how much and for how long their baby sleeps can become a significant issue in the first weeks, months and even years.

How well your baby is sleeping somehow can be conflated with how well you are parenting. Trying to ‘control’ how much and for how long your baby sleeps can become a distracting focus of your time as a new parent and even the source of much anxiety and distress. There is plenty of information available on baby sleep – in fact there is a whole industry based on it! So, how do you make sense of all the information and unsolicited advice?

Expect the unexpected

About the only thing you can rely on in terms of sleep is that some amount of sleep deprivation is to be expected. As your precious baby is growing and changing, so will your baby’s sleep patterns. When you are immersed in the lack-of-sleep baby stage it is hard to imagine, but there will come a time when it’s past midday and you are still waiting for your dishevelled teen to emerge from the depths of their bedroom. In the meantime, accepting that your baby is unlikely to sleep for extended periods consistently will make your parenting journey a little more enjoyable.

While you can’t make a baby sleep all night, there are ways you can create an environment that is not only conducive to sleep, but it also an enjoyable part of your day together. Over time a regular routine will help your baby understand that after a bath, massage, cuddle and feed, it’s time to sleep.

The bath time routine

A relaxing end to the day for your little one with a warm, soothing bath is a wonderful way to help set your baby up for sleep. Make sure the room is warm and quiet. A baby’s skin is more vulnerable to its environment than an adult’s because its protective barrier is not yet fully developed, so only use products that are specifically formulated with this in mind.

Relaxing nourishing massage

After a bath, if your baby is relaxed and calm, you could try a massage. Massaging your baby helps you and your baby forge emotional bonds and continues the bedtime wind-down period. Choose a baby oil or moisturiser that’s sensitive to your little one’s skin.

Before putting baby’s bedtime nappy on, soothe and protect from nappy rash with a nappy balm to protect and soothe skin.

The final countdown

Hopefully by now your baby is all relaxed and sleepy but not overtired! Now it’s time for a cuddle, a song or story, and a final feed and then off to sleep in a dark, warm room. That’s the goal but for many babies, it’s not as simple as that!  Prepare to be flexible with the time you start your bedtime routine and also what time baby will actually go to sleep. Every baby is different so creating a routine will, over time, help establish strong sleep cues for your baby  – each day is one day closer to a good night’s sleep for you both.

Written by Kidspot NZ.


  1. MuddledUpMolly 30/09/2019 at 1:10 pm

    Our baby just loves her baths but now they are anything but relaxing as she just loves to splash and have a grand old time with her toys! We have found it has been a great part of her daily routine though and I enjoy giving her a bath before bed 🙂

  2. Alezandra 29/09/2019 at 10:39 pm

    I’ve had my mom tell me that it’s not a good idea to give babies a bath at night time due to superstitious beliefs. But I’ve done it this way and I believe giving my baby back then a bath does make him more conducive to sleep. Like that there are so many options to choose from and even massage oils meant for babies.

  3. Micht 17/09/2019 at 8:54 pm

    I really do believe this routine works and i know it worked wonders for my kiddies too… a gentle reminder that bedtime is approaching and a small nudge in the direction of pampering and bed i think a routine makes a huge difference to how well a baby settles down..

  4. Shorrty4life1 10/09/2019 at 7:54 pm

    My children were very good sleeper’s From around 12weeks they slept right through. I always saved bathing for at night’s as it definitely helps to relax with the Johnson’s bedtime bath stuff in the purple bottle containing lavender in it was definitely a God send also as they were knackered after and well relaxed for sleeping.

  5. Mands1980 10/09/2019 at 1:28 pm

    We always had a night time routine I found it worked really well, then last feed either breastfeed or a bottle then of to bed it worked so well. If you do it all the time they get used to the routine. Baths are the best too they are so relaxing for all ages.

  6. Bevik1971 09/09/2019 at 4:00 pm

    I remember having a night time routine for our daughter, right from when she was a newborn we would give her a nice warm bath, wee massage with some organic oil (she also had some eczema so this helped too), before her final feed and bed. I think it helps relax them and it’s great to have them in a routine from a young age 🙂

  7. Loucyd3 06/09/2019 at 9:46 pm

    I wish we had a bath in our home, my kids loved their sleepy time baths as youngsters and I’m sure they still would. It really did help relax and calm them before drifting off to dreamland and they always slept till morning and were well rested.

  8. SarahBlair 06/09/2019 at 1:56 pm

    That actually sounds lovely, it would certainly get me to sleep! I tried to do this with my babies but they were not fond of being asleep and missing the action, mostly me trying to get some sleep too. But I might try the sleepytime bath with Mr 5 and see if it helps him to settle at night.

  9. dawnblyth 06/09/2019 at 11:49 am

    I wonder if the sleepytime bath would work for older children as well as babies? My 10yr old son has troubles getting to sleep some nights and this sounds like a lovely relaxing way to wind down for the night. Might have to try some I think!!

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