Select this resource

What Kinds of Daily Routines are Good for My Baby?

Resource Type

Parent Handouts and Info - Parent


Discusses importance of routines for bathing, dressing, feeding and sleeping, and benefits for both baby and parents.


All Ages

Age Groups

Infancy (<1), Toddlerhood (1-3)

Web Address



What Kinds of Daily Routines are Good for My Baby? (Adapted from Healthy Steps)

What Kinds of Daily Routines are Good for My Baby? (Adapted from Healthy Steps)

A routine is a pattern or sequence of activities that happen in the same way and usually at the same time every day. Adults use routines throughout the day for bathing, dressing, going to work, and preparing meals. These routines may be so familiar that we don't even have to think about them. When you make a big change in your life, such as adding a baby to your family, it is helpful to think about making new routines for caring for yourself and the baby. You may not be able to shower every morning at 7AM like you're used to doing. Making changes, even small changes, can be hard at first! Soon enough these changes will become your new routines.

Your baby also needs routines for bathing, dressing, and going to sleep. These also reduce your baby's resistance. Routines for sleeping are especially important to help with settling. Learning to put together a sequence of events is an important learning experience. Routines are comforting for your baby and let her know that you are there to take care of her needs every day. This helps babies to develop a sense of confidence, trust, and security in the world around them. As your baby grows and develops she will carry this sense of confidence with her as she explores the world around her. Helping your baby learn her own routines for self-comfort can pay off for both of you.

Routines should never be rigid so that you or the child are not getting your needs met. This is especially important in the first 3 months of life when it is harder to tell what a baby needs and whether they are sick. Never refuse to feed your baby just to stay on a schedule. Some babies have gotten malnourished and even died from this. If your doctor has told you to stretch out the time between feedings for your baby older than 8 weeks, just entertain the baby and make him wait no more than 10 minutes at a time before feeding. Things to remember:

  • Routines are helpful learning and soothing for your baby.
  • Routines can help you feel and stay organized.
  • Changes in routine can be disturbing for both you and your baby.
  • You can find a comfortable routine by trying different options to see what works best for you and your baby.
  • Try making up a little song or game to go with the routine or use one you did when you were little. This can be one of the fun parts of parenting!
  • It takes about 3 weeks to make a new routine by doing it every day the same way.
  • It's all right to make mistakes as you figure this out.
  • Your baby will learn to anticipate each routine and may want you to repeat it in exactly the same way every time. This is because your baby is learning to connect a sequence of events and because routines are comforting for babies.
  • There will be days when your routine gets sidetracked or falls apart altogether. Usually things can get back on track by restarting the routine and keeping it up for 4-7 days even if your baby resists.

Adapted from Healthy Steps. Edited and Compiled by the Center for Promotion of Child Development Through Primary Care 2011

Back to Previous screen.