Some of my favorite mama bloggers and I are back with another round of mom talk! The topic this month? Sleep. You don’t realize before you have a child how much of your life will revolve around their sleep. For those first few months, it was all about if she napped or didn’t or how “put down” went. When your baby sleeps, you sleep. And when you sleep, you are a better parent. When they sleep, they’re a happier kid. Sleep is something that everyone needs… So why is it so hard for them to figure out?
In utero, babies usually sleep during the day when the mother moves around and are up all night when she sleeps. The first challenge is to change their internal clocks. The second challenge is being patient with a tired, overtired, or fussy baby when you, yourself, are running on fumes. But if you teach your baby good sleep habits from the beginning, it will save you a lot of tears and sleepless nights in the future.
We’ve made it past all of those hurdles and more, but sleep is still something that everyone in my family prioritizes. We stick to a pretty tight schedule and our nighttime routine is both fun and relaxing for Amalia. It sets her up for a good night’s sleep. I’m excited to share that and more with you in today’s post!
Sidebar before we get into it, these are some of my favorite photos of Amalia ever. They capture her personality so well. She loves to dress herself and this is one of her styled looks… Hair bow and all!
What do the experts think?
It depends on who you ask. There are a ton of books about attachment parenting and why it’s the only way to go, and there are a ton of books about sleep training with reasons why it is the best. As I always say, you have to find what works for you and your family. My family values sleep, and Anel and I knew we would be better parents on more hours, so we used the Baby Wise method and loved it. It’s similar to Moms on Call (it also has an app) which I know people love.
What do I think?
Every baby is different, but I know that mine thrived from a schedule and thrived with more sleep. Amalia slept through the night at seven weeks and has never looked back. She only wakes in the night if she’s teething or has a fever. I don’t take her sleep for granted, and I know the next time around we might not have it so good, but I really believe that the work we put in during her first few months made her the amazing sleeper she is today.
I started with Baby Wise in her first week. Check out the extremely comprehensive post that I wrote about her first few months with the help of our night nurse who specialized in sleep training. It covers everything we did in the early days along with specific tips and products. For brand new moms, that is the post you want to read.
The main points that I took away from the book, in the long run, were that consistency in schedule and routines are key. A well-rested baby is a happier baby, and whenever we deviated from our schedule, Amalia was fussy. Whenever she was on track, she was the happiest little baby around! Again, this worked for us, but it might not work for you. It was a lot of work. I actually don’t know if it will even be possible for us to be this regimented when we have a second baby because it’s hard to leave the house or do anything for the first three months.
Our Current Bedtime Routine
Now that she’s older, she fully understands that bedtime is around the corner when we start the bedtime routine. We make it fun and exciting, so she loves the whole thing. After dinner, we usually play for about 30 minutes and then I tell her it’s time to take a tubby. She gets excited and every night asks if we can have bubbles. Duh!
When she gets undressed, she likes to help put her dirty clothes in the hamper and then pours the bubbles into the running water. She sits on the potty and we count to 10. Sometimes she pees, but most of the time she doesn’t. In the bath, she likes to wash her toy whale while I wash her. She practices her kicks from swimming, splashes around, and generally has a blast. Tubby is her favorite part of the whole routine. She can be in a foul mood all evening, but she almost always lights up in the bath.
I dry her off and oil her up with Burt’s Bees Baby Oil. We’ve been using it since she was a tiny baby and I now associate the smell with her and can’t stop. It also moisturizes her skin better than regular lotion. I roll Doterra OnGuard essential oil on her feet, put on her night diaper, and then let her pick out her PJs. I brush her hair and then we go back to the bathroom to brush her teeth.
She likes to help pull out her stool, then runs her toothbrush under the water. I brush her teeth while I count to 30, and most of the time she doesn’t put up a fight.
Then we walk to the kitchen to get her cup of goat’s milk. She sips on it while I put on her sleep sack, dim the lights, turn on her noise machine, and settle into her glider. She’s allowed to pick four books before bed. I read them to her, dim the lights more, and sing her 3-4 songs until she finishes her milk. I tell her it’s time for bed, pick her up and give her a big hug and kiss, and she usually goes right to sleep. Some nights she’ll chat or sing to herself for a while and on a very rare occasion (when she’s sick) she’ll cry and I will have to go back in.
We do the same exact routine 99% of the time and keep it as close to this routine as possible when we’re traveling for consistency.
Note: Thank you to everyone who mentioned the fact that we brush her teeth before milk instead of after. Let me know how you handle this in your house, but I definitely need to switch the order. I’m just worried the teeth brushing will rile her up again. Teach me your ways!
What do the other moms think?
Read their blogs to find out!
What do you think?
I’d love to hear about what works for you and your children when it comes to bedtime.
Check out my last mom talk post on screen time here.
Photo by Julia Dags.