Start the day with a feed when your baby wakes
Your baby may be ready for the first nap an hour or two after they first wake, depending on age.
Introduce a regular early evening bath time
When your baby is around two or three months old, a bath, massage, feed, familiar soothing lullaby and environment will signal to your baby that it’s bedtime, and is also a lovely way to end the day.
Judge when your baby is tired
The longest a baby younger than six months is usually awake for is 90 minutes at the most. Use this as a guide to help you work out when your baby is tired. Your baby may struggle to settle if you encourage sleep too soon, or too late. Newborn babies in the early weeks may stay awake only long enough to feed (45-60 minutes maximum), then go back to sleep.
If your baby is lasting three to four hours between feeds, aim the feeds for early morning, mid-morning, mid-afternoon, early evening and late evening. Leave your baby to wake naturally in the night for their feeds.
Encourage play and awake time after your baby’s daytime feeds
You can do this once your baby starts to show a natural alertness (around three weeks old). At first, it will involve little more than a chat and singsong as you change your baby’s nappy. By three months, most babies will enjoy time on a baby gym, bouncy chair, out in the pushchair or on your lap for a little while, before being ready for a nap.
Babies love the consistency, familiarity and security of a routine
A baby routine will hopefully avoid your baby being overtired, grumbling and crying.
If you’re breastfeeding…
You should make sure that you always offer your baby a feed if they seem to need it, no matter what your baby routine is. This will protect your milk supply and fulfil your baby’s needs for milk. The odd snack or early feed will make no difference to the routine overall.