Having a new baby at home is definitely a routine shaker. But after the “New Baby Smell” is gone and everyone is settling in nicely into “jobs” a pattern begins to emerge. After a few months your baby will begin staying awake for longer periods of time and giving you a clear “This is my nap time” signal. It’s imperative to pay attention to your baby’s cues.
My sweet boy, will tug on his ear and/or rub his eyes before he’ll start yawning and getting cranky. I try to catch him usually before the crankiness begins. Those beginning cues sometimes slip by, especially when I’m doing things around the house. But I do try to keep an eye on them because a cranky baby makes me a tired mam, and ain’t nobody got time for that.
From what I’ve read online when reading up on sleep patterns, I’ve come to the realization that the latest hour for the “perfect” bed time routine is 7:30 p.m., your baby’s brain is developing at a rapid rate and sleep is when a lot of that development takes place. Having them in bed early will make them sleep longer. (I’ve learned that no matter if I put Nico down at 6:30pm or 9:00pm, he will still wake up around 6:30 – 7:30am). I like to have my ME time after he’s down and having that taken away from me isn’t worth me going out at night with him.
So, how do we do it?
I begin by quieting the house down as his bedtime approaches. (Putting a wired baby to sleep doesn’t work, it has to be gradual). If the T.V. is on, it gets shut off. I’ll prep his bath things, get his pj’s, prepare his bottle and pacifier and leave it all ready on my (our) bed. I begin his bath between 5:45-6:30 pm. I’ll maybe put on some quiet classical piano, or maybe I’ll just sing a soothing song while giving him a bath. It works quite well. He doesn’t like to be taken out of the bath and will give me a hard time then but we power through.
I lay him on my (our) bed, and lather on some coconut oil on his body (I try not to use lotions and perfumes on him, sometimes I’ll splash a little baby perfume on his clothes, never on his skin when we have a special party/place to go to… rare – mama likes her sleeping baby). By this time he’s cranky because :
A: He’s either hungry
B: He’s sleepy or
Now that he is so mobile, it’s tough putting a diaper on this kid, he’s squirming around so much and twisting trying to grab things around him. But fine, his pj’s are on and he’s ready to be fed.
I grab by trusty Boppy Pillow and lay him down (Here’s a tip: I also add a small camping pillow beneath his head, I found one at Walgreen’s once but click here to see what I’m talking about -> camping pillow), the added pillow elevates his head just right to where I have my other hand free and can caress his little head while he drinks. He’s now either fighting to keep his little eyes open or just needs a little nudge. After he’s finished, I stand him up and lay him on my shoulder, give him his pacifier and let him burp/sleep at the same time.
Now, if he needs a little nudge I’ll read to him if he’s not too tired. I also sing/hum old church hymns. (Yea I know, I don’t know how that got started but it works great) while running my fingers through his forehead or hair. That usually does it. and He’s off to dreamland. (Around 6:30-7pm)
I love this time with him and will stay for another half hour or so just holding him. It has become a routine that I love and try not to skew from. It’s very serene and loving moment between us and we only get so many of those until they’re grown up. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this one. I’m sure glad I wrote it, it really makes me love it even more. (BTW, I try to be in bed no later than 10 pm)
How about you? What bed time routine has worked for your family? Let me know in the comments below.
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