Sleep: Babies 0-12 Months

Parent Q&A

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  • Bedtime without books for 6mo?

    (5 replies)

    I am looking for a bedtime routine suggestion that doesn't involve reading books. For the past few months we've been doing a routine of bath/pajamas, book, sleeptime. At first she was content to gaze at the pages and drift towards sleep, but at 6 months she wants to nom the pages. Unfortunately that seems to amp her up when she's already tired... I'm thinking of nixing the books in favor of some other wind down activity. Any other suggestions? 

    At that age, we did lullabies instead of books. Our routine was bath/pajamas, bottle/lullabies, sleeptime. Lullabies will also increase the number/quality of words that they hear, similar to books. I did some lullabies that I grew up with, and others that I learned specifically for bedtime. You can use songs like these: and, but I also recommend just singing songs that you like that have a quiet melody - they don't need to specifically be lullabies. I was singing non-English lullabies, so I don't have any specific recommendations for you from my experience, but perhaps something like "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", "What a Wonderful World", "Sound of Silence", things like that.

    Hi there!  My daughter is 3.5 years old and we have been doing a bedtime routine since she was about 4-5 months. We’ve tweaked and changed it along the way to suit her changing development. We’ve always done reading books as the very first thing in our routine and then moved on to bath/pajamas/bed. I always felt like books was still an activity but a good segue to something more calm/quiet, which can be helpful later when your child becomes more active and they need a transitional activity. Some babies/children also respond to massage. My daughter had eczema pretty badly starting around 6 months so doing head to toe moisturizing cream immediately after bathtime every night was also part of our routine that seemed to be soothing. Some people do calm/quiet music but I think it depends on the child as that can also be stimulating for some babies and kids. Hopefully you find something that suits your family!  Good luck!

    And when your child is a year old she will want to turn pages; when she is two she will recite familiar passages with you; when she is older she will be a reader. In my experience the more you read to your children the more successful they will be. It's a wonderful habit to cultivate. Sounds like she's excited, that's great - as she grows up you can let her pick the books, and tell her when we finish this story it's time for bed. Or pick one book/story/poem that signifies end of reading/time for bed. I read to my girls from the time they could hold up their heads to when they decided that they could read faster by themselves. It was our bedtime ritual. Both are grown up and still read for pleasure and relaxation. I hope you will keep reading to your baby for many years to come.

    Have you tried singing?  It can be traditional or not-so-traditional lullabies (my and the kids' favorite was Winken, Blinken and Nod) but my husband wasn't into those so he went through the gamut of Beatles songs, campfire songs, you name it.  The kids loved it and joined in as they got older, then not so much as they got even older, but it always ultimately had a calming effect and I know they enjoyed it.  Singing is also supposed to help with language skills; don't know if this is true but my kids' vocabularies are now quite advanced.


    Can you read to her from a Kindle where she can't turn the pages or do some audio books? My son used to love to go to sleep to the Rabbit Ears stories.