Cosleeping with my son the first few months was to be expected. I absolutely loved holding my little one and letting him sleep in our bed. Besides the convenience of not having to walk all the way to another room in the middle of the night, it was actually comforting to be able to wake up and see my little one sleeping peacefully. As he got older, it became clear that we needed to give him a structured bedtime routine.
It was obvious that he was becoming aware of everything around him and chose to stay awake instead of getting his much-needed sleep. He wouldn’t go to sleep if one of us wasn’t laying with him. When we finally would get him to sleep, he’d wake up as soon as we tried to remove our body from his. We’d have to mute our television to avoid any loud noises. Being a parent already puts a damper on our adult time. Without an actual bedtime, we barely could squeeze in any mommy and daddy time. Not even a movie night at home!
It became wayyyy too much as we obviously weren’t trying to go to sleep at 8 pm which is his bedtime.
How I Created My Baby’s Bedtime Routine
There are three things you need to focus on when creating your baby’s bedtime routine. We’ve had this bedtime routine in place since he was about six to seven months old. To this day, it’s still the same routine we use. ( BTW, Dominic is currently 13 months as I’m writing this post)
The first aspect you need to focus on is the place where you will implement the bedtime routine.
We wanted Dominic’s crib to be the place where he slept through the night. You can choose the same or decide on something else. Before we transitioned Dominic to his crib, he spent some time in his Pack-n-Play which worked just the same.
The next aspect you need to focus on is the time that works best for you. You’ll have to be relatively consistent in order for your baby to be able to recognize the routine.
Dominic’s bedtime is between 8 pm and 830 pm depending on our day. There are a few things I considered before choosing his bedtime. Some of the moms I know chose an earlier bedtime, especially for the younger ages. I, on the other hand, didn’t because of two reasons:
1) Our household is nowhere near quiet at 6/7 pm. During Dominic’s younger months, my husband didn’t get off work until about that time. I knew that when he got home he’d want some play time with Dominic. It made more sense to just delay Dominic’s bedtime rather than have it interrupted daily.
2) I knew I could actually commit to that time. Make sure you’re realistic about your everyday life so you can choose a time wisely.
Lastly, you need to choose a teddy bear or comfort item that your baby can use to recognize bedtime.
Dominic uses his boppy pillow and a lullaby bear for his bedtime. Does your little one have a favorite bear or toy that you know comforts them? You’ll want to have this ready while your baby transitions into sleeping on their own on schedule.
Dominic’s complete bedtime routine includes the following:
1. Lay him down on his side on his boppy pillow.
2. Give him his nighttime bottle.
3. Place his pacifier near him for when he’s finished with his bottle.
4. Pull his blanket over him.
5. Wind up his lullaby bear to play until he falls asleep.
This routine isn’t complicated at all but it’s very effective. I’ve heard other tricks to having an effective routine. Some people do bath time right before bedtime. Others make sure babies have a heavier meal such as cereal so they can sleep the whole night. What are your tricks?
Have you successfully implemented a bedtime routine for your little one? Comment below how long it took and what you did to get your little one on schedule?