Sleep. That one word is usually lost after becoming a parent. It has been accepted as part of the norm, but you can control this idea of sleep. Say what?! Yep, you can be a parent and not completely lose your sleep. There will be nights where the sleep is absent due to a child being sick, growth spurt, or the dreaded teething. My youngest was by far the worst sleeper when compared to my older two. This was until I decided to take control over this whole concept of sleep by establishing a bedtime routine.
At around 10 1/2 months, my youngest was not sleeping…seriously! She was a no napping and no sleeping sucker. I blamed myself for allowing her to co-sleep and fall asleep while nursing. I was at my breaking point. Grouchy momma makes for a no fun momma. My older two could not enjoy me because I was always so tired and was constantly fighting with my youngest in regards to sleep. Since my youngest wasn’t sleeping, she was not very happy majority of the time. Shoot, she was miserable during a lot of the day/night because she was not getting enough sleep. When I hit my breaking point, I started researching for a sleep consultant. I needed HELP and FAST!
After speaking with a sleep consultant during a consultation, my husband decided maybe we should just give it a try before getting outside help. I told him I would give us about 2 weeks, then my hands were up in the air with a white flag. Let me tell you, I had my once no napping, no sleeping 10 1/2 month old sleeping at night and napping-twice a day! It took a little over a week, but I did it. I took suggestions from sleep therapists, friends, and family; then wrapped them up to fit my family and my baby. Below is our basic routine that has worked for us! Again, each family and child is different. What worked for us may not necessarily work for you. Just give it a few tweaks to fit your family!
I also have attached a free bedtime routine spreadsheet, whoop whoop!
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Routine is so important with babies and children. My kids are very sensitive to changes in their normal routine. Don’t get me wrong here. I am not saying you can’t go and have a random family outing or anything. I just try my best to keep a good routine during the school week and allow weekends to be a little more flexible. Our bedtime routines start with dinner. We try and eat dinner around the same time every night. When I say around the same time, I mean it is flexible up to 30 minutes. With dinner starting our bedtime routines, I don’t want to have dinner too late. After dinner is when we start the kids’ baths. Bath time is a favorite for my youngest! She is now 13 months and when you say the word ‘bath’, she takes off running to the bathroom yelling ‘Ba! Ba!’.
I gather everything I need for her bath: towel, wash cloth, and her shampoo/body wash. Oh and her rubber ducky 😉 A new item I have added to her bath time is the BabyDam. Ya’ll, this thing is Ah-Mazing!! I wish I had it when she first started taking her sweet little baths. I put it into the tub in a spot a little over half-way from the drain. It does exactly what the name says…makes a dam in the bath. I am able to fill only part of the tub with water! This saves me not only time but water. You know what I mean. You wait minutes to fill a tub up with water for a little munchkin, when in all reality you don’t even use the entire tub. The BabyDam is perfect for avoiding just that. I also am able to use the dry bath space on the other side of the BabyDam to keep her bath towel. No more reaching around on the toilet or floor to grab her towel. #momwin The BabyDam would work for even toddlers! They don’t need all that extra space in the tub. It will make cleaning up after bath time easy and fun by having them throw the toys over the BabyDam to the dry side 😉
*Note: The one important thing to note about the BabyDam is that you must have a standard size tub with rounded corners and a non-textured bath floor in order for the BabyDam to work/seal appropriately.
After bath time, we start our unwinding. This unwinding is usually reading a book of some sort. My kids love this part of our bedtime routine. Honestly, I do too! Unwinding is important before bedtime. I know I can’t go to sleep right away if I haven’t done some sort of unwinding first. Upon completion of our book reading, our youngest still takes a transition cup of milk and turn on her sound machine (another life saver in a family of 5!). We then put her straight in her bed. You heard me right, straight into her bed! She will cry for a minute or so some nights, but then falls asleep for the night.
Our bedtime routine starts around 6-6:30 (dinner) and ends around 7:30-7:45 (my youngest being put in her crib).
Now for the sleep training. As I mentioned earlier, it took somewhere between 1 week and 1 1/2 weeks to get my youngest to start napping and sleeping through the night. The key factor: CONSISTENCY! The more consistent you are with their bedtime routines as well as their daily routines, the more likely they are to take up on their new sleeping routine. Again, they are creatures of habit who love a routine.
A lot may not agree with this part of my sleep training, but I did incorporate some crying it out. I knew that it was detrimental for my well-being as well as hers that she start getting the sleep she so much needed.This crying it out method only went in periods of 5 minutes, having me going into her room to lay her back down if she was standing up and then rubbing her back. I stayed consistent, and she finally caught on!
There is no time better than now to get those bedtime routines going and grabbing that concept of sleep! There is only so much coffee we can consume in a 24 hour period 😉
Get your free Bedtime Routine Schedule right here! Bedtime Routine Schedule