“The day is done. They say goodnight, and somebody turns off the light. The moon is high. The sea is deep. They and rock and rock to sleep.” – The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
This is the first sweet memory that popped into my head as I sat to share some tips about starting a bedtime routine. I can quote this entire book because I have read it thousands of times throughout the years with my three sweet girls. I can still remember what it was like to have them curled up in my lap and as they got older chiming in as I read along! Take me back!
So here YOU are. Your day is done (well done in terms of baby heading to bed and then we all know…mama has a mile long to do list after), but it is not quite as easy to just say goodnight, shut the light off and rock to sleep now, is it?! While we wish that it was because us mamas are TIRED at the end of the day, babies need more than that and as their mamas, it is our job to provide them with a bedtime routine that is attainable day in and out…in a perfect world that is!
It is important to keep in mind that every mama has a different parenting style and every baby has their own agenda. There is no magic involved, only your own special mama touch, love and knowledge that will help baby settle into a healthy bedtime routine. Mama knows best (always trust your mama gut) and my job here is to only offer a few pointers to help that “boat” rock a little more smoothly!
Here We Go Mamas:
Consistency is key! I am sure you have heard that phrase a million times over, but it really holds true when it comes to your little one’s bedtime routine. From an early age it provides them and you with the expectations and security surrounding this time of the day. No surprises needed! Of course, babies will be babies and things pop up (or let’s face it…diapers explode, spit ups happen!), but for the most part, you will be home and ready to manage bedtime with your mama sweetness and strength!
Bath time. Giving your baby a bath before bed is an ideal way to calm their bodies, especially if you use nighttime/calming baby wash…I can smell the lavender as I type! You can also use this time to do a little baby massage to help them relax even more. Be sure to keep baby warm by placing cloths on their bodies as you are busy working at the “baby spa.”
Bath time is an opportunity to bond with baby and have them feel fresh and clean before you dress them in their adorable pajamas. And can I say it?! Swaddle them snuggly in their special Audrey & Bear swaddle. If bathing nightly is not something that works for you, simply washing their cute little face and hands does the job, too.
Create a calm and peaceful environment for baby whether they are sleeping in the nursery or in a bassinet in your room. Soft lights leading up to bed and then a nice dark room for sleeping and sound machine/music if you prefer.
Find a spot to sit with your sweet babe and snuggle up for a bedtime story and/or a bedtime song. It is never too early to start reading or singing to your baby. These traditions and routines will become something they look forward to, and you as well, and allow you to create special bonding moments after a busy day. The perfect time to soak in every ounce of your little bundle of joy from the tops of their sweet-smelling heads, to the tips of their tiny baby toes! As the saying goes, “they won’t be this little forever.” And it really goes fast…so in all honesty, love those babies hard! But give yourself grace because not every night will go smoothly and some nights you are just going to be too tired to do “all the things” and that is OK!
Fill those baby bellies! Did baby have enough to fill their belly before bedtime? Whether you breastfeed your babe or they are bottle fed, first know that you are doing an amazing job mama, and second, know that those nutrients are giving them exactly what they need to grow, learn, and develop. Make sure they get their last feeding in close to bed so they can hopefully have a longer stretch of sleep before waking for more. Depending on how old your little one is, they may wake again before your official bedtime and then have another good stretch of sleep. And as I mentioned, every baby has their own agenda and mama knows best. So, when you know their belly is full and they are about to drift off to “baby sleepville,” you can pat yourself on the back knowing you DID IT! “Momming isn’t easy”!
As you place your precious little babe down in their bed after your bedtime routine just know, you did your best and tomorrow is a new day to conquer this mama thing all over again!
Wishing all the mamas peaceful bedtime routines and sweet dreams…that last more than an hour or two! You’ve got this!