We started this routine between 6 and 8 weeks. Prior to that, he was just going to bed when we did (which was late – like, 11ish because we wanted his long stretch of sleep to be at night and not the late evening). When we started this routine, we slowly pushed it earlier and earlier. He now eats at about 7 and is asleep by 7:30, a far cry from the 11pm we started with! But, I think what I love the most is that it’s flexible. Yes, it’s ideal for him to eat around 7 and be asleep around 7:30, but last night, for instance, we went out to dinner with friends. We didn’t get home until 8. He had eaten at 6 (because hello, he’s breastfed and doesn’t eat on a schedule), fell asleep in the car on the way home, and woke up when we arrived. We went right upstairs for his bedtime routine, and he went down beautifully.
Here’s what we do in the order we do it in:
Massage – We give him a little massage with Tubby Todd’s lotion. It’s scented naturally with rosemary and lavender. It smells fabulous and he gets excited when he sees me rub the lotion between my hands before I put it on him.
We use the Nested Bean
Feeding and Cuddles – I nurse him at night when I’m home. I know tons of “sleep programs” recommend a bottle of formula or pumped breastmilk at night because you can tell how much they ate and you can “fill them up” with a bit more.
Down in Bassinet / Crib – Occasionally he falls asleep while eating, but most of the time he doesn’t. He’s very used to the
Asleep – He puts himself to sleep at night while we keep an eye on him on the monitor (we use this Infant Optics one), clean up the kitchen, hang out, etc. He’s usually asleep in a minute or two. Again, just wanted to mention he’s not crying himself to sleep! He’s
Soon, I would like to add in a story after he nurses, but right now I’m too afraid that will signal “Woohoo! It’s playtime!” to him.
I should also note: The only time I nurse him (or he takes a bottle) in the rocking chair in his room, it’s followed by going right to sleep. He associates eating in that room as “eat before sleep” which has been key, I think!
Middle of the night feedings: If he wakes up hungry in the middle of the night, I take him into his room with the lights off, sound machine on, and his elephant night light on. I don’t talk to him or make eye contact really at all. I change his diaper, feed him, and he goes right back down. It’s all business for those middle of the night feedings! No play time!
He does still wake up a few times a night for the pacifier. It’s an easy “pop it in and