Jaylen finally turned one, which means we’ve had a ton of trial and error when it comes to finding the perfect bedtime routine (that would let us actually sleep) this past year. Because Jaylen was born with low blood sugar levels, the nurses had to keep waking him up every two to three hours to have him latch on to get his levels up so that we could take him home.
Call me crazy, but I think he got used to waking up every few hours because once we were home from the hospital, he couldn’t shake it off. My in-law had mentioned something about sleep training around the five-month mark but I’m not a fan of the whole sleep training thing. For me personally, I wouldn’t want to let my baby cry it out. Babies cry when something is wrong. Whether they need to be changed, fed, are teething, aren’t feeling good, or simply want their mama.
To me, it’s my job to comfort him. To hold him and let him know that he’s safe. I’m not saying I’m doing it the right way and sleep training is wrong. Afterall, I may be the sucker that’s not getting any sleep but that’s okay. I’ve enjoyed the cuddles in the middle of the night when I’m snuggling him back to sleep in the dark. It’s so quiet and peaceful and we get to share that moment alone without big brother or daddy. By the way, daddy is the one that woke up with Jaylen once I stopped breastfeeding at 8 months. I seriously couldn’t have picked a better man for my kids and I.
After being with Jaylen for a few months, I could tell his windows to stay up were three hours at a time. That meant that if I wanted him to go to sleep for bedtime, he would have to wake up 3 hours prior to bedtime. So, our schedule has looked like this:
- 8 AM wakes up for the day
- 11 AM goes down for his first nap
- 1:00 -1:30 PM wakes up from his nap
- 4:00 – 4:30 PM goes down for his second nap
- 6:00 PM wakes up from his second nap
- 9:00 PM goes down for the night
I know most parents put their kids down around 7PM or 8PM but for us, I need that second nap in because I work and get most of my work done while he naps. Also, I have found that if I put him down earlier, he will wake up for the day earlier and I usually go to bed around 1AM since I stay up to finish work and only get a few hours of sleep.
Once we eat dinner, I’ll play with the kids for about an hour so daddy can finish cleaning up the kitchen. Once that’s done, it’s time to dim the lights in all rooms. I start Jaylen’s bath by adding Little Yawn Collective body wash to add bubbles as the water runs. This body wash smells so good. Once I started using it I couldn’t stop because smelling it let Jaylen’s senses associate it with sleep so he knows the day is over once he’s in the tub and smells the calendula scent. He also knows it’s bedtime when he takes a bath since he only bathes once a day.
After I get him out, I spray the pad on his changing table and his crib with Little Yaw Collective pillow spray. So that he can get those calming scents while I lotion him down with the body lotion from the same line. It’s like a mini spa day in his room. I try to rub his back, his legs, feet, arms, neck, and hands in a massage-type of way so he winds down.
From here, I will pick a book to read to him and give him a bottle right after we read the book together and pray. He takes a full 9 ounce bottle with the lights off. I avoid rocking him because I don’t want to get him into the habit of being rocked to fall asleep, especially if he wakes up in the middle of the night. He’s learned to fall back asleep when he does wake up in the middle of the night — for the most part. If he’s teething or has growing pains, he just wants mom or dad to cuddle with so we’ll snuggle with him until he falls back asleep with a little tylenol.
I remember being up at 2AM breastfeeding and other moms would be on Instagram feeding at that hour as well, so we would DM each other while feeding our babies. Being up at that hour feels so lonely because you feel like the whole world is sleeping except you. Having conversations with those moms at those lonely hours of the night felt so good and less-lonely.
I’m hoping these tips help new moms just like those ladies helped me. If there are other moms out there who have found anything to be helpful for bedtime, please drop them in the comments below.
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