Current situation – Sitting in the car park of Trent Park drafting this post whilst the little man sleeps, as he decided 5.45am was an acceptable time to rise and shine 🙂 🙂 🙂
Firstly – I hold my hands up to all you mummy bloggers. I feel like I have so much of my journey that I want to share but never manage to put pen to paper and share it with you guys! Any good time management posts or tips are welcome 🙂
So I’m, going to split this post up as some of you came at me with different points and questions and I hope this helps..
Lets talk Bedtime routine. So I absolutely love bedtime routine however you chose to do it. Lucas now knows it’s bath, teeth, book, bottle and bed. It’s great wind down time, family time or one on one time. And you can be completely present with your little one. Yesterday for example we made a vegan lemon drizzle cake (I’ll post the recipe next) and the mix got between his toes, in his hair, eyelashes – the works – so we had 3.30pm bath. After his bath he shouted ‘teeth’ and then waddled his little squidgy butt into his room to chose a book. Little did he know it was only 4pm (poor child, definitely confused him lol).
BUT it’s also O.K to bresk that routine. Holidays, sleep overs, out for dinners – whatever it may be you have to do these things. Lucas was great, he slipped right back into his sleep routine whenever we returned from our holidays. A little suggestion that worked for us – Make a new routine for the holiday but don’t be too restricted. I’ve been lucky enough to have been on numerous holidays with my little man and I found a holiday routine possibly helped with slipping right back into our home routine.
And then you can be not so lucky – For example.. Spend time in the early days worrying about sleep routines and them going to bed awake.. be really strict and regimented – go away for two weeks and it all goes tits up when you get back anyway! (This happened with a friend of mine.) Point is – worrying does not get you anywhere! Relax, have a little routine in place and live your life as a mum and dad too.
Right – the getting them to sleep bit. The hard bit. The scary bit.
‘Oh don’t get them into any bad habits’ ‘let them cry it out’ and this that and the other. Parents, parents in law, friends, aunties, THE INTERNET!! Everyone has an opinion and a suggestion (just like me and this post) I think I stressed myself out on about 5 different occasions whilst worrying about him going to sleep – (a couple of times to the point of tears).
Personally – I don’t think it’s worth it. But this is my experience and my opinion. We’re all different – parent and baby. My thought process when I sat outside his room on the third (and last) night of ‘controlled crying’ watching my stop watch try and reach 7 minutes, tearing up myself with him hysterically crying (wow that makes me feel guilty now..) -Was if he’s sitting in his cot in hysterics – surely he’s going to have an awful relationship with his bed and bed time??
I mean there are studies out there that show it triggers separation anxiety and the rest of it (again all off the internet) but this was my own observation – I tried a few nights consistently, his dad helped me not to give up, but all in all in was not for us, Lucas wouldn’t calm down and I absolutely hated it. Every stop watching minute of it.
The Success story..
So from early – Lucas has fallen asleep on the boob and then the bottle. It didn’t matter what time we done the bedtime routine – it could have been 6pm and the child wouldn’t stay awake! By the time he was a little bit older – maybe 7 months or so, there was a few times that he hadn’t fallen asleep on the bottle so his dad and I took turns and would rock him off to sleep. (A big nono in the judgemental eyes of the perfect parent) I started to worry if we’d have to always do this and it can’t be right. So – I looked up techniques. Controlled Crying – See above. Not for me. It literally broke my heart. ‘Pick up put down’ routine? Another one I looked into. The ‘cry it out’ technique. This one his Dad tried. It wasn’t one I liked the idea of, and it was only attempted by Dad if I was out.
So, up to a year old.. still falling asleep on the bottle at this age. Now he’s 1, I’m back at work, I’m on my train into the city at 7am, off my train at 6.45, teaching Pilates classes at 8, hitting the gym on other nights at 9. Prepping washing, cooking tidying and doing all other things parenty. I looked forward to that 20 mins of giving him his bottle, a cuddle, and him falling asleep on my chest at 7.15. Sometimes on quieter evenings I’d lie there and shut my eyes for half an hour sometimes longer. It suited me at the time. It worked for both of us, and at a time where EVERYTHING was gogogogo I absolutely loved that precious time in the evenings.
14 Months old. We move house. This I saw as the change in environment and opportunity to potentially try putting him to bed awake again. I was very relaxed about it as my previous experiences of this whole get them to sleep awake thing hadn’t been nice. I tried a couple of things..
1. If he woke in the night, I’d give him a cuddle and put him down slightly awake as he’d be more inclined to go back to sleep in his bed as oppose to doing at 7pm when he was fully awake. It worked.
2. I sat just outside his bedroom door, in sight with him smiling at me prob not the thing to do but hey! he was happy in his cot awake and not asking to be picked up or for ‘huggies’ as he calls it.
3. Pretty sure I fell asleep on his floor one night when I refused to pick him up. Simply said ‘lie down’ and he’d fall from a seated position with no hands out just flat-out on his pillow. (Hilarious) He done this repeatedly every 5/10 mins for quite some time on a number of nights.
No pressure, no rules, no tears, just what I thought would work knowing my son.
15 months. CRACKED!!!!! OH MY GOODNESS. I just tried it one night. Story and milk, ‘Lucas, it’s time for bed now, kiss? *kisses me* put him into bed awake, wave night night, out the room downstairs and takes himself off to sleep. You have NO idea how amazing this felt – or maybe you do? Please leave comments 🙂
Moral of the post?
Please please do not stress yourself – don’t we have enough going on to have to stress about cracking routines and training our babies?
Trust yourself and your little one. You know them better than any article, book, or anything/one else.
Don’t worry about breaking routine. it’s routine! Not the baby bedtime army.
Also anything can change up their sleep pattern – teething, sickness – change in lifestyle – starting nursies. We cant control it all.
I don’t have a breakthrough technique or some secret that’ll solve all your bedtime worries and fears, but I really hope this helps some mummies relax and enjoy the process. It’s a beautiful one, and to repeat what I said at the beginning, that one time of day where you can be really present and just enjoy some quality quiet time.
Please please leave comments – the more stories the better – lets share and help other mummies !
Thanks for reading my longest post yet 🙂