I’m a bit militant about my children’s sleep. Make that A LOT militant. I have struggled with sleep for most of my life, and I don’t want my children to do the same. I did a lot of research, I tried a lot of things, and I found what works best for my littles. I think they sleep pretty well, especially at home, so I thought I would share my routine with you in hopes that it will help some other tired mama out there.
First and foremost, this book was my favorite one that I read, and the one that I felt the most comfortable with. It’s called The Happy Sleeper. I couldn’t stomach the Cry It Out method (and if it works for you, you do you, but it just about broke my heart!) This book’s methods allow your baby to learn, with your loving support, how to self-soothe to sleep. I didn’t start with this method until they were both about 4 months old. This method really focuses on routine and consistency, which is something I firmly believe in as a classroom teacher, so this really felt natural to me.
We eat dinner at 6 pm every night, and Caroline is in bed between 6.30-6.45 pm. I get a lot of guff from friends that we eat early, but by 6 pm rolls around, she is READY to go to bed.
After we eat, Caroline either gets a proper bath or a sponge bath. I’ve been using Mustela since David was a baby, and I love the smell. If she gets a proper bath, I’ll use the Mustela Two in One bath gel.
When we go into her room, I turn on the lamp and white noise machine and draw the curtains. I dry her off in her special unicorn bath towel, put on a fresh diaper using //ws-La Petite Creme diaper creme (heavenly scent, really!) and give her a thorough once over with Mustela Hydra Bebe lotion. After she gets her jammies on, we brush her teeth with this Orajel baby toothbrush and gel. You might wonder why I’m going into so much detail about this whole deal- it’s because all the sounds, smells, and noises indicate to her that it’s time to go to bed. If you consistently use the same products in the same order, it’s a signal to your baby that bedtime is eminent.
After we go out and give kisses to her brother and dad, we go back to her room and she nurses, and then we read a short story. (Every night… from when she was a month old. I think reading has made a huge difference for David’s language ability, so I’m dedicated to this for her, as well.) I turn off the light, sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” and I rock her for a minute or two. I quietly lay her down in her crib and tell her “Good night, Caroline, I love you.” I then walk out of the room. She’s not even partially asleep at this point- she knows how to put herself to sleep every night. There’s no tears, no yelling, nothing. It’s so peaceful.
So, that’s it… That’s how I put my 11 month old to bed every night. I have found that by remaining peaceful and calm, it helps her as well, and we both love our routine. I hope this helps!
PS: I should add- it didn’t start this way when I first got her started on her bedtime routine. She would cry for about 5 minutes, I would walk in and tell her “It’s bedtime, Caroline, time to go to sleep,” and leave. I did this as many time as it took. Caroline learned much more quickly than David, but they both learned how to soothe themselves to sleep.
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