Before Paige was born, and particularly while I was pregnant with her, I had a wonderful bedtime routine. It usually started about 9 pm with a soothing bath, followed by some reading or a craft, while sipping warm, honey-sweetened, cinnamon sprinkled milk. This routine was very enjoyable, relaxing and often led me easily to sleep. Now, things are a bit different.
I think having a soothing bedtime routine is important for Paige and I am hoping it will eventually result in her falling asleep faster and for longer periods. It’s exciting to think that the routine I have started now might continue for many years to come! The Sleep Solution book I read, like other sleep books for parents, strongly recommends having a pre-bed routine.
Our current “routine” goes something like this: we eat supper as a family around 6 pm, Paige gets nice and messy since participating in the meal, so then she gets cleaned up either in a bath or just wiped down, and always gets some much loved naked, squirmy playtime. Next, we get her pj’s on and start the bedtime lullaby cd, which lasts about half an hour. We rock in the rocking chair and I nurse her and/or she plays with a quiet toy on my lap. Sometimes I need to walk around with her as she performs her “I don’t want to sleep yet” fussing. This usually entertains her enough to actually feel sleepy. Then I take her to our bed and nurse her to sleep. Most often it takes less than 10 minutes for her to fall asleep. But in less than an hour, she stirs and needs more milk. Then again half hour later, she whimpers, as she is lonely (aka isn’t hungry and doesn’t need to be picked up). During the time when Paige is sleeping, and between soothing her, I run around getting as much done as quickly and quietly as possible.
Needless to say, I, myself, need a better wind-down routine at night. And being on my computer doesn’t seem to be the answer.
What I wonder is what night time routines work for people? What kind of routine works for others, with or without a baby? I have to admit that I wish Paige would fall asleep and stay asleep at night when I first put her down. Lately, she has been sleeping much longer periods (4-6 hours) consistently after the initial few hours and has been napping well. However, I should also mention that prior to Paige and before getting pregnant, I have always been a poor, light, takes-forever-to-fall-asleep kind of sleeper, who liked to know someone was lying next to me. So far, that is exactly like Paige :)
I do have one trick that never fails. When I decide the laundry can wait, and I can repack the diaper bag later, and I stop thinking about what to make for supper and I just lie in bed beside Paige, reading, writing or watching a show, it does seem to work. She sleeps incredibly well those evenings and throughout the night. And often, so do I.