The sooner you begin a bedtime routine, the better. We started a routine with Everly around four weeks. It’s evolved as she’s gotten older, but it’s been the key to longer stretches of sleep. Those longer stretches eventually lead to a full night of sleep (10-11 hours for a one year old). PRAISE GOD! I don’t know about you, but I am a MUCH better mom when Everly is sleeping well – for naps and overnight. Here are some tips from my personal experience… obviously, if something is working with your baby, don’t change it!
Babies thrive with a routine that is scheduled. A bedtime routine can be as simple as diaper change, PJ’s and white noise or as complicated as three sound machines, a bath, swaddle, book, songs, etc. The first step to a bedtime routine is creating a consistent schedule. Jake and I loosely followed the E.A.S.Y. method (from Noob Mommy) EASY-Schedule-Cheat-Sheet I’m not sure if other people have had success with it, but it worked for me! It helped me figure out what time Everly should be napping and eating and that was good enough.
Y: Your Time
A hungry baby (or person in general) is not going to sleep as well as someone that is well fed. They are also not going to interested in any activity time. When Everly was younger her activities ranges from songs, tummy time, books, staring at her reflection in a mirror, sitting in her bouncer, etc. Now that she’s 12+months the activities are much different. She really has to wear herself out to be tired enough for a nap. We will usually go to the park, read books, color with her water books, build with blocks, use her “food truck” to cook, play with her babies/strollers, and the list could go on. Walks in the stroller don’t count as activities anymore – she needs exercise.
4 weeks – 4 months: Everly was still sleeping in her Rock N Play in our room — our bedtime routine looked like this…
Bath, Lotion, PJ’s, brush hair, swaddle, sound machines (white noise), breastfeed until sleep, put in rock and play and turn that thing on full blast!
4 months – 6 months:
Everly was moved into her nursery in her crib. We switched over to the Merlin Sleep Suit (if you don’t own this – buy immediately). Everly wore hers until she started rolling over daily.
Bath, Lotion, PJ’s, brush hair, sleep sack, sound machines, breastfeed to sleep, put down in crib.
At 6 months we also did cry it out — I’ll write a whole separate blog post on this. Long story short. It’s worth it.
6 months – 12 months:
At 6 months Everly started getting a bottle of breast milk before bed. Eventually, we switched the breast milk to formula (pumping is not fun).
Bath, Lotion, PJ’s, brush hair, Halo Sleep Sack, sound machines, bottle of formula, put in crib awake.
There’s no right answer for the perfect bedtime routine. Create what works for your family’s schedule. It is important to stay consistent and create a calming environment for bedtime!