Mom Talk: Sleep

Mom Talk Sleep

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!

Amalia’s Dress c/o (on sale here) / Amalia’s Leggings / Amalia’s Bow / My Sweater

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.

Baby Wise

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.

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Comments

  1. Amy said:

    I agree that babies and toddler thrive on routine and it sounds like you’ve established a solid one early on. That being said, sometimes you get lucky and have a sleeper, and sometimes you don’t. No routine can change that. And in the case of my third, sometimes you get a sleeper and then you transition to a bed and they don’t sleep the same again! I’m also curious why you brush teeth before milk? Just what works for your routine?

    3.6.19 · Reply
    • Sarah said:

      same question about the brushing teeth before milk – milk sitting on teeth all night is so bad for them!!

      3.6.19 · Reply
      • Julia said:

        I’m going to switch it, thank you!!

        3.6.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Good call! I just added a note into the post about this but definitely let me know how you do it in your house because I’m worried about riling her up. I will for sure switch the order though. Any tips are welcome 🙂

      And great point about getting lucky with sleepers. We were for sure lucky with Amalia. I have a feeling I won’t get os lucky the next time around.

      3.6.19 · Reply
      • Sarah said:

        Milk downstairs post dinner and then a cup with water could also help ease the transition if she’s used to drinking something upstairs- just might make overnight potty training tough too. Just have to do whatever’s best and easiest for you guys 🙂

        3.6.19 · Reply
  2. Jessica said:

    what type of stool do you use in the bathroom

    3.6.19 · Reply
  3. Candace said:

    I loved learning more about another mom’s/kiddo’s sleep routine! We are very much the same in the my daughter knows exactly what’s going on when we say, “Let’s go night night!” I was also curious about what other moms do with order of brushing teeth/sipping milk before bed. We brush first, because as of now, I don’t see her being at all interested in brushing if it were after her bottle and right now, she is very much into drinking some milk and immediately wanting to be in her crib. Any advice you hear of would be very much appreciated!!

    3.6.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I’m in the exact same boat, but I’m hoping we learn more from other readers 🙂

      3.6.19 · Reply
      • Margaret said:

        Hi Candace and Julia,

        I would definitely recommend trying to have milk occur before beginning the bedtime routine. It may take a few days/weeks to adjust. If you cannot break that cycle, to prevent “party time” from occurring during teeth brushing, keep lights dim in the bathroom and/or get a touch light with blue or red tones.

        3.6.19 · Reply
  4. Hannah said:

    Re:brushing teeth…Ean is 19 months old and we have a similar routine. Dad rocks and reads stories with milk. He calls for me on second to last book (after milk is done) and I come in w toothbrush. Ean brushes his own teeth for the rest of the story and then he knows during the last book it’s Mommy’s turn and I make sure to go over everything and tongue, etc. I say goodnight and give kisses and dad puts him to bed!

    Anyone want to advise on transitioning to one nap. We’ve tried everything (pushing first nap later and later gradually, keeping him up all morning until ideal nap time, etc) and we are all over the place. The issue seems to be that he won’t sleep for more than an hour except once in a while, and then we’ve got a haul to bedtime after having a cranky morning. Cranky all day is no way to be haha Thank goodness the night is so solid! (Fingers crossed)

    3.6.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      That’s a great idea! Usually, I’m alone for put down because Anel works late but on nights when he’s home, we’ll try that.

      For our transition to one nap, it was just cold turkey. It was really awful for about a week and then she learned to sleep for longer during the nap!

      3.6.19 · Reply
      • Hannah said:

        Thanks!! Did you have to push her to do longer naps (or leaving her after the first wake up?) or did she just figure it out eventually?

        3.6.19 · Reply
      • Hannah said:

        Oh! Also when I’m alone I just bring the toothbrush in ready to go on the side table and same thing: let him brush for one book and then I say My turn! And I redo and then one more book and then night night 🙂

        3.6.19 · Reply
  5. Whitney said:

    Teeth brushing at our house happens right before story time, after we’ve had milk. We used to bring milk up to my daughters room and she would drink it while we read books, but it became a crutch and she wanted to take it to bed with her. I see where you’re coming from that she might get riled up if you do it right before bed, after milk and books. We now have our milk downstairs around 7:00 and give her 10-15min to drink as much as she wants. She then knows she has to hand it back to mom before going upstairs for “night night.” She then gets her PJs on, teeth brushed, and picks out 4-5 books, and goes down without a peep most nights!

    3.6.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I actually think this could work really well for us. Do books and milk in the living room then tooth brushing with songs before bed. I’m going to try it once I’m back from my trip this week!

      3.6.19 · Reply
    • Amy said:

      Yes! We also don’t bring milk upstairs to our son’s room. He drinks it downstairs and then we head upstairs to brush teeth and read a story.

      3.6.19 · Reply
  6. Victoria said:

    Just had to say I cannot believe how big she is getting! All of a sudden—a little girl, no more baby!

    3.6.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I know. It’s awful/amazing at the same time. Time is going by too quickly!

      3.6.19 · Reply
  7. Anne said:

    We did milk and story time on the couch in the living room followed by teeth brushing and getting in bed. To help my daughter calm down once in bed, we would sing and then play a “game” where we say outloud that each of her body parts are “going to sleep” with the lights out. Then we leave, and she goes to sleep.

    Side note, I worked as a dental assistant at a pediatric dental practice in college, and while drinking milk right before bed is less detrimental than putting them down with a bottle/sippy of milk, the sugars in milk sitting on their teeth can definitely cause damage. It causes something that is called “baby bottle decay”, and can lead to serious issues. Baby teeth are really important! I always try to be careful how I tell people about it because I don’t want to do any mom shaming, but having seen the results, it is tough.

    3.6.19 · Reply
  8. Sarah said:

    We did Moms on Call and it literally saved our lives! Our newborn would only sleep 10 out of 24 hours from the very beginning, and was very fussy. After 3 weeks of no sleep and losing our minds, we started sleep training. Everyone told us it was too early, but our baby has slept through the night since 8 weeks. He just turned a year old and has never had any regression issues and is a fantastic sleeper. We joke that we just had to “break him!” 😉

    3.6.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Hahahah I feel you on that! We had the same scenario with sleep regressions and I’m still just waiting for it to happen. Knock on wood, so far so good.

      3.7.19 · Reply
  9. mari said:

    linked to this post from another mom doing this sleep series with you and wanted to suggest the addition of a quick intro of your daughter’s age for any reader who is new to your blog. thanks!

    3.7.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Great idea! I will definitely do it next time. For the record, my daughter is 20 months 🙂

      3.7.19 · Reply
  10. Taylor said:

    We have a 20-month-old and our routine is very similar! Regarding your teeth brushing/milk drinking conundrum, if the milk is crucial to settling her down before bed, you can try brushing teeth in her room while you’re reading books/singing to her, after her milk is gone – I’m assuming she’s not spitting/rinsing at this age, so she probably doesn’t actually NEED to be in the bathroom to brush her teeth. Good luck!

    3.7.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      That’s actually a really good idea. She doesn’t spit and rinse yet so we’ll try it.

      3.7.19 · Reply