One thing that we are proud of as parents is how easily our kids go off to bed and sleep through the night.
I can’t remember where I read it, but the idea of establishing a bedtime routine as early as possible sounded logical to me (even if they’re only in bed for 3 hours to the next feed!).
With CrashGirl it was a rocky start feeding wise. I was breastfeeding, expressing (most unsuccessfully) and cup feeding both BM and formula to our wee darling who had arrived a month early and had a lot of trouble feeding. It broke my heart to give her formula, but I was never confident in my supply (yes, I know, I know – counter productive). Whilst I continued to breastfeed her until she self weaned at one year, she continued to have a bottle of formula, and then cows milk each night.
At the point when she started taking a bottle and sleeping better we started the following routine, which CrashHubby took charge of to give me a break, and to spend some time with her himself and bond.
We followed the same routine most every night, but didn’t worry too much if circumstance meant we were out too late for a bath. As long as we followed most steps, CG continued to go off to bed.
At this point I should say that the routine alone didn’t result in her willingly going to sleep straight away. We did have a couple of nights of tears – both hers and mine – when we desperately resorted to a soft version of controlled crying. I’m not sure how I feel about this now, but after two nights she was settling easily and sleeping well and I was less frazzled. To put this in context I was suffering every malady known to breasts that are feeding a baby. It actually took 16 weeks before I was breastfeeding without pain and I was getting very run down. The last 10 weeks were spent visiting a lactation consultant once a week who finally got us sorted out.
Back to the routine . . .
CrashGirl was so used to her routine that we could do it wherever we were and she would settle well. In fact we travelled around Europe for a month when she was nearly 8 months old with no problems at all.
We would bathe her in the sink or bottom of the shower if we had to! She had always slept with her lambskin under her cot sheet. We took it with us and put it in her little tent travel cot.
She would happily got to sleep in the same room as us. If we wanted to stay up and watch TV or read we just draped a towel over the top to cut out the light
To this day we pretty much follow the same routine, still mostly done by CrashHubby. Of course now they have teeth, brushing teeth has been added to the routine!
Even though we have a solid routine, they cope well when it is upset with late nights visiting the grandparents for example. They usually fall asleep in the car on the way home anyway ;)
Having a routine means they easily got to bed for anyone else looking after them here at home, or if they stay over with family. It’s a great signal to start winding down and knowing it’s time for bed.
Recently I asked the Crash Test Community for your tips on bed time routines, and a panel of mums crash tested ecostore’s Sleepytime Bath and Baby Moisturiser. You can check out their reviews here:
And here are some of the tips from the community:
Wear them out during the day (not too much though cause over-tiredness can backfire big time), no tv or major activity between dinner and bath time (lets food go down and also promotes that relaxation in preparation for bed), nice warm bath (followed by massage), comfy pjs and bedding, and stories, songs and cuddles in their dimly lit bedrooms before being popped into bed/cot for a nice big sleep (I always exit the room while they’re still awake).
My second, who is 6 months still needs wrapping. It seems to relax her and puts her into her own little quite environment. Some peaceful music on in her bedroom, she looks around for it if it’s not there.
Best tip – keep to routine, even if bub protests. We do dinner, bath, moisterise, pjs, pick 3 stories, then relaxation music and dim lights. Took a long time with my now 3 yr old but 9 month old much better cause we knew what we were doing!
My best bedtime tip would be to create a warm, quiet and calm environment in the time before bed. We love to have a cuddle and talk to our 14 month old daughter about all the great things she has done that day.
My tip for a good night sleep is cluster feed until bedtime for a nice full belly, a nice relaxing bath and warm massage and lots of cuddles in bed :)
Do you have a good bedtime routine? What does it look like?
Disclosure: I wrote this post as part of my support of ecostore products as one of their blogging ambassadors