Before having Charlotte, I decided that I would make a calming night routine for her because that’s really the best thing you can do if you’re hoping for a good night’s sleep in my opinion. Some babies will want to stay up and party regardless of their routine but I do think having one helps even if you’re not the type of person to typically stick to a routine.
I wanted to include that I’ve only ever very softly sleep trained and Charlotte still has 1 middle of the night feeding in her 12 hour sleeping period. She has pretty much always had this 1 feeding and I have never minded it. I also wanted to make it clear that sleep regressions may occur and are normal. We had one around 3.5 months for a few weeks but her habits went back to normal. I have always tried to put her in her bassinet while drowsy but awake so that she could fall into a deep sleep on her own to lessen regressions. We also never turned on the lights or started playing even if she was having a hard time falling back asleep after her feeding. We would lay there in the dark until she did go back to sleep no matter what and we don’t have any issues with that now. Other than that, we’re all about the routine.
**In addition to the routine, I will add that during the day, we always made sure that her naps were had unswaddled in the daylight and without white noise. We wanted her to become very aware that darkness, a swaddle and white noise meant it was time for a long sleep. Some sites advise to always have a dark room for sleep but for the newborn stage, that wasn’t what we wanted to do.
What every new mom learns is that sleep is something that changes so much as the baby ages. During the newborn stage, babies can get their sleep in shorter time spans and often wake to eat more frequently. BUT, they also tend to fall asleep easier as they simply can’t stay up as long as older babies and fall into deep sleeps quickly. So, we tried our best to lay the groundwork for her to still know when it was bedtime even after the sleepy newborn stage.
During Charlotte’s newborn weeks, she naturally wanted to cluster feed in the evenings. I’m talking almost non-stop nursing all evening. This is somewhat common in new, breastfed babies from what I’ve read and while that was definitely very challenging in it’s own ways, I became grateful that she did that because it helped lead to a restful night. As Charlotte nursed, I’d usually have dinner on the couch. We’d then clean up the kitchen and go upstairs (clue #1 for baby that night is here since we are usually downstairs) for bedtime routine. At first, we bathed her only every few days. So, if she was getting a bath that night, we would do so. Baths have always been loved by Charlotte and relax her. Then, while I would shower, my husband would get her ready for bed. He showers in the morning FYI. This included lotioning her, a fresh diaper, a new sleeper and a sleep sack or swaddle. Once I got out, we would sing soft songs to her and pray before her feeding.
At 6 months, Charlotte’s routine is slightly different but not much. When my husband gets home from work, we have dinner. Then at 6, we feed Charlotte her solids. We play and she breastfeeds here and there until about 7 when she sometimes needs a very short nap. Once she wakes from this, we play more until around 8:30-8:45. We then go upstairs and she has her bath while playing with her toys. I shower after that while my husband gets her ready for bed as we’ve always done. Once I get out, we always sing “Jesus Loves Me” and pray with her. Then, the white noise comes on and it’s lights out around 9:30 as I nurse her one more time. Even if we go out one evening, the upstairs part of the routine stays the exact same.
Every baby is going to be different in how they sleep and what works but this routine has always worked well for us. On nights when she’s more tired or fussy than others, we can actually watch her calm down as the night routine advances because she knows that she’s getting close to bedtime. I think the key is just creating a routine regardless of the details. For reference, our favorite bedtime products are this bassinet, this sound machine and this sleep sack.
Our routine will be slightly changed as we will transition Charlotte to her own room at some point soon. Mama is a little nervous for that but we’ll get through.
Similar Sleeper / Lighting / Kitchen Rug / KitchenAid Mixer / Dining Room Rug / Barstools / Tea Kettle / Knife Set / Mercedes Car or cheaper here if you make an account! (probably the best purchase we’ve made for her 😂 she LOVES this thing! It also gets you up and moving so kind of good for mama and daddy too!)