One of my very favorite parts of my day is my nighttime routine with Soren. We started doing a night routine with him when he was only a few months old and it's become such an incredibly special time for me to share with Soren and Jon. It's also hugely helped in preparing Soren's little mind for bedtime. :)
To give you a little background, for the first several months Soren slept with me nearly every night. Most nights he wouldn't fall asleep until after 11:00PM...YIKES! As a new mama I just couldn't part with him and he was getting up several times throughout the night to nurse and I just wanted to easily be able to feed him and go back to sleep. I knew it would be better for both of us if I could get him to sleep through the night in his own room. After a lot of planning and talking, Jon and I scheduled a week in July to finally sleep train Soren. It took about 10 days of working with him until he finally got the hang of sleeping on his own and putting himself to sleep. By the way, I used "The Baby Sleep Coach Book" as a reference for sleep training and really loved it! There were nights when he cried AND when I cried! Why is it so hard for us mama's to part with our little ones at night??
After the transition, things really changed. I slept better, Soren slept better, he took better naps, I felt more like myself. It was a miracle! In bed at 7:00PM and sleeping until 7:00AM...can I get an AMEN!?! One of the big elements of helping him sleep through the night, in his room, was creating a routine at night for him to look forward to and for him to begin to understand that bedtime was approaching.
Our routine really hasn't changed too much since we first started. Here is a breakdown of what we do each night. :)
6:00PM - This is dinnertime! Soren eats his baby food and sometimes Jon and I join him and eat dinner too and sometimes we wait until after he goes to bed to enjoy dinner together. :) I LOVE feeding Soren Ella's Kitchen or Plum Organics pouches. They have such great ingredients, nothing sketchy and a great variety of flavors. Soren is NOT picky and will gladly chow down on anything, thank goodness!
6:30PM - BATHTIME! Time to clean this messy baby off! Jon is typically in charge of bath-time. They splash and play together while I get everything else ready for bedtime. We love using Honest Company products during his bath, especially the shampoo/body wash!
6:45PM - This is my favorite part. I grab my wet, slippery baby out of the bath and lay him on our bed. I pat him dry, put on his nighttime diaper, use eczema care lotion on his sensitive skin, brush his hair, put on his chest rub and put on his cozy PJs! He usually plays with the lotion bottles during this time. ;) After we go through his post-bath routine, we cuddle up and I nurse him. Soren isn't a super cuddly baby so this is my special time to get some good cuddles in.
7:00PM - Time to put Soren in bed! I like to put him in his crib when he's sleepy but not asleep. I've noticed that this helps him fall back to sleep on his own if he wakes up in the night. He recognizes where he is and remembers that he fell asleep here on his own already. Make sense?? :) Before I put him in bed I rock him in my arms and sing two songs. I usually sing "Twinkle Twinkle" and "Skidamarink", sometimes I throw in "Our Song" by Elton John. After a few songs we say our goodnights. I walk around the room and quietly whisper, "goodnight Boba Fett, goodnight stars, goodnight raccoon, goodnight backyard, goodnight Millennium Falcon, goodnight books, goodnight crib and goodnight room. Goodnight daddy, goodnight mommy, goodnight Jesus and goodnight Soren." He has a Star War's themed room thus the references. ;) With a kiss on the head, I lay him in his crib, give him his lovies, say a little prayer and walk out.
After Soren goes to bed it's mommy time! I love taking the evening to spend time with Jon, work on Maiedae, rest, read, catch up on a show. It's a great time for me each day to refresh and restart my mind for the next day. Having little ones makes life a constant go-go-go so taking advantage of those quiet and still moments is so healthy and SO SO needed.
One piece of advice I heard when I first started doing sleep training and a nighttime routine was "if you put your little one to bed early, they wake up early...if you put your little one to bed late... they wake up early." ;) And it's SO true. If they're already planning a 7:00AM wake-up call (or earlier, yikes!) might as well get them in bed at an early time! I usually try to go to sleep myself between 10:30-11:30 so this gives me a good 3-4 hours. YES!!
Having this time each night with Soren has created such precious memories for me and for Jon. It's our time to slow down, connect and come together as a family. As well, having the rest of my evening while Soren sleeps was such a turning point for me. Before I felt like I was running on empty constantly...if zombies existed, it was me! These evenings, after Soren goes to bed gave me back my boost and give me the quiet time I so need. Mama's...let's take back the night!
I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into our nighttime. :) Do you have a nighttime routine with your little one? Let us know what your favorite thing about your nighttime routine is and if you have any tips to add! Love you friends!! xox