Many parents swear by a bedtime routine, in fact I would say the majority of them do. When Amelia was born all I kept hearing was "My daughter slept through from 6 weeks", "My son went in his own room at 3 months" and all I kept thinking was good for you and secretly I hoped for a night of more than 3 hours sleep! However since Amelia was born I've not had a full nights sleep yet! Right up until Amelia was around 20 months old we've never had a bedtime routine as it varied every night, however more recently we have got her into somewhat of a routine which works for us. I thought it would be nice to take a look back at her 'routine' of how she has slept since she was born.
When we came home from the hosptial with Amelia for the first evening on our own we tried her in the moses basket however after many hours of screaming it resulted in her being in bed with us. As I was breastfeeding this was easier and because I had a pretty bad birth I was having a tough time recovering and couldn't pull myself out of bed easily so it made sense to keep her in bed with us. Even though I did keep trying her in the moses basket, she was pretty big in it and kept touching the sides so a few days later we gave up with it and put it away in the attic.
I moved her cot into our bedroom and tried her in there at nap times when she was a few months old and once she had fallen asleep on me I would put her down in the cot and she would usually sleep for a while until she decided she didn't like sleeping in there and she ended up napping in her swing instead. I did try her in the cot at night once she had fallen asleep but she would wake up an hour later so she ended up co sleeping with us fully until she was around 16 months.
I really do enjoy co-sleeping, especially when she was younger. If she was sleeping in our bed on her own I would but a bed guard on the side or pile up plenty of pillows. Now I get pushed to the edge of the bed and kicked most of the night. When she was younger we would put a small pillow in between Andy and Amelia to stop him from rolling over. I was always aware of my movement however Andy is a deep sleeper so would move a lot. I ended up sleeping in the one position all night which would kill my back! Now we co-sleep for half of the night which isn't too bad.
At 16 months I would put her to bed at 10pm in her cot which was then in her own room, but I would have to climb in there with her to nurse her to sleep then quietly climb out without waking her. She would then sleep in the cot for a couple of hours and wake between 12 and 1am and I would bring her into bed with us. This went on for a few more months until we moved in October when she was about 18 months and I finally got her to nap in her cot during the daytime and then decided to start somewhat of a bedtime routine and get her to sleep in her cot.
At around 6pm we would have dinner then give her a bath if needed that evening and change into pj's ready for bed. I would then turn down the TV and dim the lights so she knew it was bedtime and also read a few books. At this age I started getting her down at around 10pm as I was just glad that she was sleeping in her own cot I didn't care what time it was, I couldn't wait for the evenings to myself. I decided I wouldn't climb into the cot with her, but I would just sit next to the cot and reach through and stroke her chest until she had fallen asleep. This was much tougher than I had imagined as she has never been one for lying down and just falling asleep so some days it took well over an hour to get her to fall asleep.
She did 3 nights in a row and I realised she was getting into a routine, I was so happy! For the next week she continued to go down at around 10pm and then I brought it forward each week and she ended up going to bed around 8.30pm. When we got back from holiday around 19 months she dropped her nap times which resulted in her being tired much earlier and she would start falling asleep on me at 7.30pm instead. So we finally had a bedtime established which I was rather excited about as it meant I could have the evening to myself once she had gone to bed, until she wakes up between 11 and 2am.
We then moved her into her toddler bed not long after Christmas and she transitioned really well. She' still not sleeping through the night at 22 months but I'm just glad that she's sleeping in her own bed for part of the night. I still enjoy the snuggles when she comes into our bed and it's not going to last forever so I may as well make the most of it now. How many teenagers do you see still sleeping in their parents beds hey!?
Here is what our bedtime routine looks like now.
6.00pm | Dinner and tidy away toys
6.30pm | Bath time (Every 2 days unless extremely messy)
7.00pm | Get into PJ's and read books or watch bed time songs on the iPad on our bed
7.15pm-7.30pm | Amelia will feed and fall asleep on me and I carry her through to her bed. Othertimes I will take her through and lie her down on her bed and sit in a chair next to her and rub her belly until she goes to sleep. She also has lullabies on the iPad to keep stop any noise from waking her up.
11pm-2.00am | She will wake up and come through to our bed. I usually don't go to sleep until 1/2am so if I'm awake when she wakes up I'll go upstairs and take her through to our room and if I'm already in bed she will come through on her own.
Come and link up your bedtime routine at Share It Sundays this Sunday!
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