Monday, September 12, 2011

Routine Series: Bedtime

Here's what our bedtime routine looks like:

  • Bath time! This is Gav's favorite time of day. We usually start this around 7:30 and he'll sit in there for about 15-20 minutes or so. 
  • Towel off /Snuggles. We wrap in a hoodie towel, snuggle for a couple minutes, look in the mirror, and dry off.
  • Jammies/Diaper. I put a night time diaper on (we jokingly call them "double stuff" diapers since I put the extra liner in for overnight) and jammies. We also talk, tickle, make faces, and have lots of kisses while we're doing that. 
  • Read. Depending on how tired Gavrel is by this point, he sometimes has more patience for reading than other times. We're working on this, I just want it to be a long-term part of our routine, so I usually at least try it. Don't worry - we read lots during the day, too!
  • Nurse. This is such an ingrained part of our bedtime routine that I'm sure it will be the last nursing session I cling to as he starts eating food. This is one of mommy's favorite parts of the day!
  • Close curtains/turn out the lights.
  • Snuggle and say prayers. A lot of times daddy will come in to say prayers with us. It's the last thing we do at night. 
Once we say "amen" and another "I love you, sleep well" and give lots of kisses, I lay him down and walk out of his room. It took us a while to get him to go to sleep on his own after the reflux stage had us holding him almost 24/7. But one night he was particularly cranky and wouldn't nurse, rock, or anything he normally liked to go to sleep. So I tried laying him down and he went right to sleep. It took about a week after that of crying it out (briefly - we almost never let him cry for an extended period of time, but that's also another post) before he started going right to sleep on his own. I know that not every baby is like that, but I would encourage you to watch for signs, and it's almost always worth trying it out!

I also don't use nightlights (the only light in his room is the power light on the baby monitor) and I close the door all the way. These are things I want him to be ok with when there are other siblings in the house and everyone's getting ready for bed at the same time - or different times.

This routine took us a lot longer to establish than sleeping through the night. If you're working on a bedtime routine, just keep it up! You may feel like a broken record right now, but you'll be so glad when you finally settle into it.

What other bedtime routine elements do you experienced moms use?

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