Today I wanted to share Amalia’s full bedtime routine because I realized that I’ve never actually done a post about it. I get a lot of questions about what we do as a nighttime ritual for her, so here it all is in one place. It can be a dicey time of night and it’s become kind of sacred to me, so I decided to not share photos from our actual evenings, and I hope you can understand why! As a blogger it’s hard to decide where the line is for too personal, but for some reason, taking photos at that special time of night for us crosses that line for me.
After almost eight months of bedtimes, we’ve come up with a little routine that works well for us. I hope you enjoy reading about it!
Amalia’s bedtime routine:
This routine showcases an ideal evening. While it happens this way 80% of the time, there are definitely snafus the other 20%. Sometimes she doesn’t go right down, sometimes she won’t finish her bottle and wakes up hungry a few hours later, and sometimes she’s just a fussy hot mess. But one thing I’ve learned in motherhood is that your baby is not a robot and definitely won’t do things the way you want 100% of the time. Once you accept that, things get way easier. I go into every bedtime with an open mind and extra patience.
5:50pm- “Nakey baby” time: We started doing 10 minutes of her rolling around naked before bed when she had a diaper rash a few months ago and we were trying to “let it breathe”. We learned quickly that she loves being naked, so we somehow ended up making it a nightly thing. She pees on the floor like 80% of the time so we always put a towel down first. Yes it results in more laundry but I can’t tell you how happy she is in these 10 minutes. It comes right at the time when she’s about to potentially melt down because she’s tired and hungry, and it completely changes her demeanor.
We call it “nakey baby” because of the Rihanna song, Wild Thoughts, where she sings “So you wanna see me nakey nakey nakey” which we’ve changed to “nakey nakey baby”.
6:00pm- Bath time: We give her a bath every night which I know doesn’t vibe with everyone. A lot of people say it’s bad for her skin, but we only use soap on her hands, feet, and hair most nights and then do a full body lather once or twice a week. I oil her up afterwards and dry skin hasn’t been a problem at all. We tried doing baths every other night but she has so much hair that gets dirty (and kind of stinky TBH) that we had to bring it back to nightly. Plus she just loves it!
I mentioned it in her last monthly update but our new bath situation is awesome. We use this bath seat that we put in the tub and then fill the tub up to just below her belly button. I pour water over her shoulders the whole time so she doesn’t get cold. I use Earth Mama Organics Sweet Orange Baby Wash for both her body and hair and use a washcloth with no soap for her face.
She has this set of bath toys that she only gets to play with in the bath so she gets extra excited when she sees them. The splashes around with the crab (it’s her favorite for some reason), laughing for most of it. After nakey baby, bath time is her second favorite time of day!
6:10pm- Get dressed for bed: This is where things can get a little dicey. Depending on how tired and/or hungry she is, she can be minorly fussy or have a full on melt down at this point. We’ve figured out that by keeping the lights low, letting her hold a toy, and singing to her, she usually stays pretty chill. But sometimes there’s just nothing we can do and it’s basically a race to see how fast we can get her dressed.
I carry her wrapped up in a towel from the bathroom to her room and dry her hair first so her head doenst get cold. Then I cover her head and use Burts Bees baby oil to massage her legs, feet, tummy, and arms. I put on an overnight diaper (we’ve found that Pampers Baby Dry are the only ones that don’t leak overnight) and then get her in PJs, sleep sack, and brush her hair.
6:15pm- Reading time: If she’s not tired/hungry, I’ll read her a book or two but that’s pretty rare. She’s usually ready to eat and go to sleep by this time. If we do read, The Going to Bed Book is our current favorite for this time of day.
6:20pm- Eat: I turn on her humidifier and sound machine, turn her light all the way down so it’s barely on, put on her lullaby playlist, and feed her a bottle in my lap. Usually by the end of the bottle she’s asleep, but if she doesn’t I do all the next steps with her awake, careful not to make eye contact or else it’s all over! This is my favorite part of the day because she’s so cute and holds my hand while she eats and then snuggles into my chest when she falls asleep. It’s magic.
6:30pm- Digest: I keep her upright in my lap or over my shoulder for 10 minutes after she eats whether she’s awake or asleep so that she can digest before I lay her down. Otherwise she’s more prone to spitting up and waking herself up.
6:40pm- Sleep: I lay her down in bed and leave the room. She sleeps on her tummy now that she’s older which is completely safe once they know how to roll to their backs. If she’s asleep already, she usually scoots around a bit to get comfy and then doesn’t move for a while. See ya tomorrow, kiddo! If she’s awake, she can take up to 20 minutes to fall asleep, talking to herself. FYI that did not come easily. We put in weeks of teaching her how to put herself to sleep on her own when she was really little and I’m so glad that we did that now. Sometimes she’s still fussy or hungry so one of us goes back in to calm her down or feed her, but we try to let her figure it out on her own for 5-10 minutes first and usually she falls back asleep. I am not great with the “cry it out” method so if she’s really crying, I usually go in either way which I know is probably the wrong thing to do but it hurts my heart to hear her screaming crying and not do something about it!
So that’s it! What is your bedtime routine with your baby like? Any suggestions for ours?
Photos by Julia D’Agostino.