“Bedtime routines are key.”
~ Every baby book out there.
Baby books and even well-intending instructional videos paint a picture of the perfect and no fail nighttime routine of: Feed your baby dinner. Give them a warm bath in lavender baby wash while they giggle and coo and splash minimally. No big splashes. Just little cute ones. Then you will snuggle for five minutes while singing a lullaby that they listen to in awe of your melodic voice. After that, baby needs a full body massage while they hold perfectly still the whole time. Warm jammies are next where after you will dim the lights. The nightlights are already glowing thanks to Alexa, you read them 2 short stories and rock them to sleep with exactly 2 songs, give them one hug and kiss, and then your little one will be out cold.
And while this is all good and well the reality is that often times it looks more like this: after repainting the dining room walls in mushed veggies at dinner time, baby makes a tidal wave in the tub which you wipe up with your socks because there is only one clean towel in the bathroom and you need that one for your baby. They are happy to boot, but oh so wiggly during snuggle time… and don’t even get me started on massage time. Your organic chamomile and lavender lotions make them as slippery as a fish and they are wanting to wriggle off the bed thinking it’s a game. Once you dim the lights, they start to panic. They know bedtime is imminent. You start to panic internally. You sing one song 45 times, read the book with your eyes closed because the reality is that you know it by memory. Then you proceed to give them 23 hugs and kisses and they sleepily collapse into bed…. Until they realize you are sneaking out of the room. They start to cry, you come back in and lovingly but firmly give them one more kiss saying I’ll see you in the morning. They close their eyes, and you ninja roll out of there so that they have no idea you are out of the room. That last part is repeated no less than 31 times per night. That wasn’t hard…. right?
Now I want to be transparent with you. My baby was really easy. Honestly, I know we had it easy with her and I am so thankful for that. But that does not mean that every night was a perfect night routine.
She went through this phase where she reversed her sleep cycle like a newborn. Y’all don’t even get me started on how desperate I was! I tried every sleep technique I read about and sleeping aid from Babies R Us. I even went in one day and asked the lady if they had any medicinal sleep aids. She looked horrified at me and said, “No that is not a thing.” I answered, “Are you sure?” She sternly replied, “NO!” (Side note, if a desperately tired mama asks you for something to help her kiddo, be kind. She’s exhausted and willing to try anything safe.)
At the time it felt like she hadn’t been sleeping for years! But the reality was that it only lasted a few weeks and before I knew it that phase was over.
There was a time when even my best tips and tricks didn’t work! Yours will fail too. And that’s OK. When it feels like it has been 65 years since your 8-month-old has slept properly at night remind yourself, this too shall pass. Your tricks will start to work once again. In the meantime, maybe one of our tricks will help your little one drift off.
These are our top 6 sleeping tricks that worked with our little one.
1. From the day she was born we prayed the same prayer over her every night.
It is short and sweet, very heartfelt. And because she heard it every night at bedtime, before we knew it all we had to do was start to pray those words and she would start to yawn. Till this day, we pray that prayer every night and she yawns every time.
Yours could be a prayer or a quote, or simply words of affirmation. Whatever it is say the same thing every night. It will soon be a mental trigger for sleepy time.
2. We didn’t bathe her before bed.
Heresy, I know. Bath time felt like play time and it totally woke her up. Stories, singing, and snuggling was what made our little one sleepy. If your kiddo gets all woken up with bath time schedule it for earlier in the day. And don’t worry, I cleaned her all up with a damp washcloth every night. She didn’t go to bed dirty.
3. She has slept with the same music playing since 4 or 5 months old.
The key here is that it’s on a small iPod so that it is portable for camping/vacation. (Do those even exist outside of the Apple branch of the Smithsonian anymore?!?)
If at all possible don’t make your kiddos’ white noise or music source a big ol’ machine. Because they will get used to it. They will want it for sleeping. And you will need to take it with you anywhere you go to spend the night.
4. Recording Mommy’s singing voice.
Remember that I told you that there was a short stint where none of my tricks worked? Turns out that she wanted to hear me sing 2 songs that I made up for her every night. But I couldn’t stay up for hours with her singing. So I recorded my voice on the built-in recording app on hubby’s phone and we’d leave his phone in there till she drifted off. Then like a ninja, he’d sneak in there and retrieve it.
5. Leave more than one binky in the crib.
Once she could roll over she would lose her binky mid sleep and then wake up crying for it. Solution: put her to bed with a binky, and then place 4 more in each corner of the crib. Worked like a charm.
6. Full up her tummy.
I’m not talking about over stuffing. But as kids hit those growth spurts what used to fill them up before will no longer satisfy. If she needed a little something extra I was OK with it as long as it was healthy. Note: Once she was out of diapers I cut off liquids around 7 pm. Only a sip if necessary. She only had a couple of wet beds, even in early potty training days.
I hope these 6 tips help you out!
Remember that you can start any one of these and make it a habit even if your child is not a newborn. It will take a little more persistence but it can work.
What are your best tips and trick to get your little one to sleep? Please share below!
Hang in there, mama.
This too shall pass, remember that.
May your coffee be strong today.
Unless otherwise noted, all photos are taken by yours truly and are exclusive content of this blog.