How to Get Your Baby to Sleep

Evenings are a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with your little one, relaxing together and bonding over bedtime activities. But getting your baby to fall asleep – and to sleep through the whole night – can be the opposite of relaxing! This step-by-step routine will help get your baby bedtime game on point.

Prepare for Baby Bedtime (45 minutes before)

It might sound boring, but the key to a no-fuss bedtime lies in consistency and routine. Preparing for sleep is definitely a step you don’t want to skip. Anxiously scrambling for the pacifier or that favorite toy will make it harder for baby to relax, and all that frantic movement can undo your efforts.

  • Place all bathroom necessities within arm’s reach of the tub (and don’t forget the towel!)
  • Lay out PJs
  • Pick out a calming bedtime story
  • Make sure necessities like pacifiers, bottles and favorite stuffed toy are on hand
  • Clear the crib of blankets, pillows and toys

Give Baby a Bath (30 minutes before)

Just as it does for parents, a bath can really help your baby prepare for bed. Warm water can help soothe and create a relaxed feeling. And having a bath as part of baby’s regular before bed routine, using a shampoo or wash with a soothing scent, can help baby recognize it’s time to wind down for bed.

We recommend using products specifically formulated for baby’s before-bed routine, like JOHNSON’S® Baby BEDTIME® Bubble Bath & Wash. Use the directed amount in a warm bath for calming quality time for both baby and you.

Learn how to bathe a baby and get additional baby bathing tips.

Give Baby a Massage (20 minutes before)

After bath time, give your baby a gentle massage before putting on baby’s jammies. The closeness and skin-to-skin contact helps them further relax. You can start by turning down the lights and putting on soothing music, such as lullabies or a soft symphony. Warm your hands by rubbing them with just enough lotion to help your hands glide over baby’s skin. Slowly rub baby’s arms, legs and back. Be sure to use a product specifically created for baby’s sensitive skin, such as JOHNSON’S® BEDTIME® baby lotion.

Here’s a thorough guide on how to massage baby.


PJs (10 minutes before)

After the soothing massage, it’s time to put on PJs. Choose a seasonally appropriate set to make sure baby stays comfortable all night long. It’s important to make sure that pajamas fit snugly. Even if baby falls asleep in other clothes, you should always change him or her into PJs before putting baby to bed.

Read a Baby Bedtime Story (5 minutes before)

With PJs on, it’s storytime! A bedtime story is a great way to boost baby’s developmental skills and help create positive associations with bedtime. Pull up a chair or recline on a bed, holding your baby close so that the warmth from your body can continue to soothe them.

Choose a simple, relaxing story over one with lots of stimulating action. A book about bedtime itself can actually help baby associate the words with their bedtime routine. Be sure they have a line of sight to the book’s pages – but if they’d rather just snuggle in, by all means, let them get cozy.

Put Baby Down to Sleep!

Be sure to put baby to sleep when drowsy but still slightly awake allowing baby to drift off to sleep on own. This helps baby learn how to self-soothe to sleep, a skill that can help baby fall back to sleep on his or her own, when baby naturally wakes during the night. Now is a good time for a safe-sleep check. Make sure to put baby to sleep on her back and double-check that no toys, blankets, pillows or other things remain in the crib.

Now it’s time to tiptoe out of the room, turn on the baby monitor – and see if you can catch a few Zs yourself!