When I first brought home my little man from the hospital, I remember longing for the day that he would sleep through the night. I read all the books, attempted all kinds of techniques, but nothing worked for me and my little man, nothing felt quite right. How do I set up a bed time routine?
Bed Time Routine Through Nightmares
As many newborns, Reese came into the world not knowing the difference between daytime and nighttime. Every night I would be up with him, singing to him, playing music, rocking him and even dancing with him all over the house in hopes of a couple minutes of sleep.
It was after weeks of frustration, a close family member suggested establishing a bedtime routine. At first I was a little skeptical, because I thought it was too early for my newborn to sleep through the night, but at 6 weeks he was able to sleep 4-5 hour blocks throughout the night.
The Four B’s of A Bedtime Routine
Our routine consisted of the four B’s. Bath, Book, Boob and then Bed. Every night I would give Reese a bath. Some nights it was just a rinse in the tub with warm water, which he loved. It refreshed him and got him comfortable for his clean pajamas. Once he was snuggled in his pajama,s we would read a book together in the rocking chair. The soothing stories we would read helped relax his little body and established comfortable bonding time between the both of us. Once our book was done, I nursed him until he was almost asleep. Many books and professionals suggest that nursing a sleeping baby only gets you into more trouble as they get older, such as being a human pacifier, which is a phase, and habit we went through, but I’m very glad we were able to break it. Finally, it was bedtime. In the early weeks we would swaddle Reese with his blanket. He loved the coziness and sense of security it brought him, but after a few months, he learned to sleep without it.
With The Bedtime Routine
Today, Reese is a happy two year old, who sleeps a solid 12 hours at night and also has a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon. His bedtime routine has changed over the past two years. He now drinks from a bottle in his bed. As soon as his bottle is done, he stands up and passes it to me. We say goodnight and I shut his door and he’s asleep for the night.
A bedtime routine gives babies and children a sense of security in knowing what comes next. These are the years where children learn the most through their environment, and sense of comfort and security in knowing their own wants and needs. A small routine can make a huge impact on your baby’s daily behavior.What have you got to lose?
Karen Del Ben is currently working as a Educational Resource Facilitator in Peel. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Disability Studies. Karen her diploma as an Early Childhood Educational Assistant. Her hobbies include extreme couponing, knitting and volunteering for many non profit organizations.