Most new parents are ready, by the second week or so after childbirth, to have their baby get a good night’s sleep. Sleeping through the night is a normal and natural part of your baby’s development, and like other milestones that your baby will hit, it’s exciting to see. Of course, your baby sleeping through the night means you also get to sleep through the night, which is probably even more compelling for many parents with bloodshot eyes and foggy minds.

If you want to help your baby sleep more easily, you should plan bedtime accordingly. Develop a routine or ritual that signals baby that it’s time to go to bed. About an hour before you want your baby to go to sleep, play with him for a bit. Give him some quiet time, afterward, though, as your baby will probably be too stimulated right after play to sleep.

Obviously, feeding your baby before bedtime will help, too. Feed your baby about ten minutes before bedtime. This gives you time to feed and burp your baby, and also some cuddle time. If you’re lucky, it may be enough time for your baby to have a bowel movement, which means that one won’t wake her up in the night. It goes without saying, but you should also make sure your baby has a fresh diaper on when you put her down for the night so that she’s comfortable.

Some babies prefer a bath just before bedtime. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, of course, as for some babies a bath is much more stimulating and may serve to make your baby more excitable and awake, rather than sleepy.

Regardless of what it entails, it’s important to develop a routine at night. Do the same things every night in the same order. Eventually, your baby will recognize the pattern and it will help him to sleep better.