Now that JR has turned 5 months old (21 weeks in momma speak), we have a set bedtime routine and it has helped him sleep much longer through the night. We start the bedtime routine each night around 6:30-7pm and he is drifting off to sleep about an hour later between 7:30-8pm.
Our Nightly Routine
1. Active Playtime with Daddy
My husband will arrive home around 6:30-7pm each night and I will have the baby ready for some quality time. They will sit on the couch together while talking and playing some sort of physical game – practicing kicks, using his hands to grab at toys, strengthening his legs with supported standing squats or everyone’s favorite, Tummy Time!
Once JR gets a bit tired of playing we wind things down and I feed him his rice cereal mixed with breast milk. He loves opening up wide and biting on the spoon. We take our time and show excitement while he eats like a “big boy”.
Once he finishes his bowl of cereal, I take him over to his changing table and get his diaper off and gather his towel and washcloths. We use a Summer Infant baby tub filled with warm water to splash and play in for about 20 minutes before using Aveeno Baby wash & shampoo.
4. Massage with lavender lotion
After our bath we head back to the changing table for his nightly massage with Aveeno Baby Calming Comfort Lotion Lavender & Vanilla scent because it helps soothes him and the smell association prepares him for sleepy time. I found some baby massage techniques on Pinterest and saved them to my Baby Board.
5. Story time
After I lotion him up, I will let him hang out on his changing pad naked while I read a short story, we currently love The Little Blue Truck and his Children’s Bible.
6. Diaper change
Next comes his fresh diaper.
7. Swaddle and/or Comfy Footie PJs
This is probably the most import step of the process because he was always moving his arms around and it frustrated him when he was trying to wind down for sleep. I love the Halo SleepSack Swaddle because his legs moved freely plus, the zipper moves from the bottom to the top so, I could unzip him to change his diaper in the middle of the night without unwrapping his arms and waking him more than necessary. I have both the fleece and cotton styles but, prefer the cotton because I noticed he would get a bit sweaty in the fleece style, even with a cool room.
We have started to put him in footie pajamas and no longer use the swaddle. He has been rolling over for the past 2 months so, it was no longer safe for him to have his arms tied, in case he does roll face down during the night. I will definitely use the swaddle wraps for my next baby until they begin rolling over.
8. Nurse and Cuddles
Now onto my favorite part of the night. I love my cuddle time with JR, just me and him snuggling in the dark, cold room while I nurse him to sleep. I rub his head and sing softly to him as he gets drowsy.
9. Lay him in his bed while he drifts off to sleep
He will stop nursing and I will gently lift him off my chest and hug him just a few moments longer. As he is drifting off to sleep I will lay him in his Fisher Price Deluxe Newborn Auto Rock N’Play Sleeper with Smartconnect. I cannot recommend this newborn sleeper highly enough. It fits next to my bed, has 2 rocking speeds, white noise, plus vibration. I will use the rocking, white noise and vibrate during daytime naps but, will have the bed still during night time.
After I began this bedtime routine JR’s sleep extended by a few hours during the first stretch. He will be asleep by 8pm and will wake up for the first time around 1-2am each night. I will pick him up once he starts fussing and will bring him into the bed with us to nurse and sleep for the remainder of the night. He will nurse here and there and wake up when Johnny’s alarm goes off at 7am the next morning.