I don’t think I ever cared about sleep as much until I had a baby. Well why would you? Of course you have to get up if you work or study or have somewhere to be. Of course if you have a night out, you need to catch up on your sleep but thing is YOU CAN! You can sleep all night, all day and stay up all night if you want to. It doesn’t matter. It is you and only you and no one else needs you to get up at 5am or take them for a wee in the middle of the night!
Then I had my daughter and life was turned upside down for a while. I was the most tired I had been in a long time. I was lucky with both my girls, as the newborn sleep deprivation phase didn’t last too long but it hasn’t been as easy with my baby boy.
Baby sleep is like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You yearn for it. You can be pretty desperate for it and it is a possible. A baby sleep routine comes, it just takes time.
My Baby’s Bedtime Routine
When I brought all three of my babies home I knew a routine wouldn’t come immediately and it doesn’t. With all three it was about 6-8 weeks before I really attempted one. My eldest cluster-fed so much in the evenings and was up until 10pm for ages. My middle child loved to party until around 11pm and my baby boy was pretty similar to my eldest, except he didn’t cluster feed as much. Still exhausting and you do say good bye to your evenings for a while.
Until your baby is six months old, the safest place for your baby to sleep is in their own cot, in the same room as you, whether it’s during the night or at nap time in the day. There is also a lot of advice. about baby sleep you can find online, for example check out Emma’s Diary Baby Sleep Advice for some guidance. You can also check out their infographic at the end of this post.
My personal bedtime routine for my babies was similar with all three of them and it was actually slightly easier with my second two, as they just had to fit in with their siblings.
The end of the day always comes with craziness,”the witching hour” we like to call it! We all have tea and in the early days my babies would watch from their bouncer or be cuddled, until they were old enough to eat and join us in the highchair. Now my little baby boy eats and watches his favourite show for a little while or plays with the girls until he is taken upstairs. He knows the word “bath” and is always ready for it.
– So it is bath time. I know some people don’t like to bath their children nightly, or may be advised not to, due to skin conditions but I am a daily bather. I think it helps your children to unwind and it definitely helps babies know what time of day it is. I used to bath with the kids too and have only stopped this now we have three and they are all getting so big!
– Next is getting them into their pyjamas or baby grow. This is something my husband has always done. It’s a time for him to have a little chat, sing possibly and have some one on one time. We always try and draw curtains where we can and ensure we have black out liners for the summer, to keep the rooms as dark as possible. This helps your baby know it is dark and can associate this with sleep.
– Depending on their age and how tired they are, a story can be nice at this point. I have breastfed all my babies so I do the feeding part. It may be lovely for your partner to read to the baby to have that extra bit of bonding time. We used to choose a pretty short baby book and always did this in the bedroom. There is no more going downstairs after the routine is started; this is important as signals is bedtime too.
– Next would come some milk. Breast or bottle, it is a lovely time to sit with your baby. Sometimes I used to read myself during the time or quietly catch up on some TV! Your baby may feed to sleep and you can gently put them down and hope for a good few hours sleep (or maybe the whole night?!) We use a nightlight and a little toy that plays white noise and lullabies.
My children have all been different. My girls were pretty good at self-soothing and even if they woke being put down or were away after a feed, they would go back to sleep. My little man isn’t as good and if he stirs, needs baby sleep aid, like a lullaby or some music and a little pat on the bum for him to nod off. Sometimes he needs a bit more of a cuddle or to lie next to my husband and nod off. They all vary and some may need a little help to get to sleep, even with a solid routine.
I think regardless of how they get to sleep a good routine really is the key for them. It helps them to feel safe and secure. They know what is coming next and even if it takes a while, I’ve always found sleep comes. And when it starts to come at the earlier time of 7-8pm when your newborn starts to sleeps earlier, the light at the end of the tunnel is there and you start to get your evenings back!
How about you? Do you have any tips or tricks to help your baby sleep? What routine works for you?