Evolving bedtime routines

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Kayla1981's picture
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Evolving bedtime routines

(Hey, what a surprise! I'm posting a question about sleep. Again.)

How did your LO's bedtime routine evolve over time?

I'm still putting Jordan to sleep the same way I always have. I nurse her at naps and bedtime, then I lay her down once she is asleep. Occasionally, like tonight, I will have to lay her down awake because she refuses to completely relax. (Tonight I nursed/rocked her for 45 minutes and she was very drowsy. She woke when I laid her down and cried for about 20 seconds after I walked out. Then she babbled for probably 20 minutes before finally falling asleep.)

I would say 95% of the time she falls asleep nursing. I have a hard time imagining how I could possibly get her to relax as fast as I do with nursing. I also have a hard time imagining being able to lay her down away and her being able to put herself to sleep.

Did any of you breastfeed or bottle feed your LO(s) to sleep for a long time? At what point did you find your LO(s) were ok with being laid down awake?

alwayssmile's picture
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Sleep. Oh how I wish we had consistent sleep here. Aiden goes through phases where he'll sleep really well for him (just getting up to eat and immediately falling back asleep) and other phases where he wants to play/scream the whole night. lol

We had no routine other than whatever worked till 4 months. Then I started reading to him before every nap and before bed at night with classical music playing. I would then nurse him to sleep. At about 6 months I started nursing him first and then reading and rocking to sleep. When I got back from my parents earlier this summer (about a month ago) we changed his routine. Right now we bathe Aiden, and then brush his teeth (letting him have a go at it first), then I massage him with lotion and put him in his night diaper. I nurse him and then hand him over to DH most night where DH reads to him and rock him with classical music playing in the background. Aiden is very easy to put to bed. Our issue is getting him to stay asleep. Most nights I can nurse him back to sleep. Others nothing helps. I lay Aiden down awake for naps, but DH insists that Aiden be asleep before being laid in his crib at night. When DH is done flying in 6 weeks or so I'm going to make DH put him down awake and we're also going to work on cutting back on night feedings. I feel like every 2-3 hours at night is too much.
Also, usually once a week I'll baby wear Aiden on my back for a full nap so that he'll keep taking naps back there when necessary. This "trick" has saved me more than once. Doesn't matter what else is going on, if I need to I can wear him and have him nap back there (as long as I don't stop moving too much lol).

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"Kayla1981" wrote:

How did your LO's bedtime routine evolve over time?

[skip]

Did any of you breastfeed or bottle feed your LO(s) to sleep for a long time? At what point did you find your LO(s) were ok with being laid down awake?

Evie was a good sleeper overall ever since she was 4 wks old. At first, I had problems BFing her, so I had to supplement her with formula at night (while I was pumping), and I think it helped keep her asleep longer.

After I exclusively BF'd her starting at 5 mths, I always nursed her before putting her to bed. At first, she'd fall asleep (as she usually does after nursing); when she didn't right away, she would be so drowsy that she didn't put up much of a fight, just pat or rub her back, then it was hold my hand on her back, then I didn't do that after a while.

At 14 mths old, she weaned herself one night and then we established a bedtime routine: bath (ok, that was before too), brush teeth, read a book (goodnite moon), I hold her and sing to her "when you wish upon a star" until she was asleep, then just very drowsy. After a while, I would sing a song, put her down awake, then hum the song again while she was in the crib, getting her drowsy. After that, I would leave while she was drowsy but still awake. I think at this point she was about 16-18 mths, right around the time she started daycare.

From 14-26 mths, she was pretty good, even with converting her crib to a toddler bed and then her sleeping on the floor (b/c she hated the bed). Sleep has been way more problematic for all of us since she got nightmares. We're working on a solution.

Whoa, sorry for the book! Hope it helps.

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I don't know, Kayla. I had just become preg when M turned one and shortly after I started to wean him. He was completely weaned right before he was 16months. At that time he'd have a night time snack with a sippy cup of milk while we read books, brush teeth, and then we'd say goodnight and he'd go into his crib. He'd babble/play in his crib for a few before falling asleep. It worked well.

That being said unless he was sick M was never really a comfort nurser (I have a feeling already that M2 is more of a comfort nurser than M was!)

Keep us posted - good luck! I think the transitions are sometimes much harder on us then on our babes!

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I nursed to sleep until we finished with the night time nursing. That was around 9 months. Then I would hold them, in their room, with the lights off, while they drank their bottles. They were usually pretty drowsy by then and would go right down. Once we weaned from bottles, we started books before bed. THat works well for us now...I climb into bed with them and we read 1 book each and then talk quietly for a while. Usually they are sleepy by then and will fall asleep once I leave the room. Right now they are sharing a room, so I find that if I space them by half an hour, it works, otherwise, they play until they fall asleep. Bedtimes do evolve a lot as they age (this was a good memory exercise for me!)...I think you have to decide what is going to work for you, and stick to it. Good luck!

Nicole

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We've always put the kids down drowsy but awake. When I was breastfeeding I started a routine with Ava to breastfeed, bath, lotion massage, book then bed. Andrew had the same routine but with a bottle instead of BFing. I tried to space out the feeding and going straight to the crib so we could brush teeth inbetween, so milk was not sitting on them over night. I do give both babies a water sippy cup at night. Some days they drink a lot of it and some days not at all. But I like water at night so I figure they might as well.

Andrew was more of a struggle to get to bed and we did have a period where he would get a bottle to fall asleep to, but that was out of need for me to get a break. Once I felt rested, we worked on being consistant on our routine and him going down awake. It was not always easy and we had months of a lot of comforting and the occasional repeating of portions of our nigth time routine. But these last few months it seems to have paid off, because 95% the time when I put them to bed they go down happy and I only have to do it once.

GL! I know it's difficult with a bad sleeper, but I really believe sleep begates sleep (our bedtime routines are much more challanging when Drew does not nap well in the day) and consistance is key.

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I am just thinking ahead. I am still ok with how we do things but I can see how it might be difficult when we stop nursing to sleep. She gets hyper when she is tired and it doesn't seem to matter if she isn't even over tired yet. I think she fights sleep. I guess she is one of those children that does not want to miss out on anything.

I guess my only concern is that she has a lot of teeth now and I do not want to do any damage by nursing her to sleep for a while longer.

I have tried reading books but she just wants to get out of my lap and run around. She loves books but they have to be more interactive to keep her attention. She isn't really to the point that she will curl up in my lap and just listen to me read.

However we transition, I want to do it gently. DH would probably do some CIO if I wasn't so adamant about avoiding it. I think he feels like we don't have a lot of options so I have a feeling it will be on me to be the patient one.

ETA: Thank you for sharing, as always.

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"Kayla1981" wrote:

I am just thinking ahead. I am still ok with how we do things but I can see how it might be difficult when we stop nursing to sleep. She gets hyper when she is tired and it doesn't seem to matter if she isn't even over tired yet. I think she fights sleep. I guess she is one of those children that does not want to miss out on anything.

I guess my only concern is that she has a lot of teeth now and I do not want to do any damage by nursing her to sleep for a while longer.

I have tried reading books but she just wants to get out of my lap and run around. She loves books but they have to be more interactive to keep her attention. She isn't really to the point that she will curl up in my lap and just listen to me read.

However we transition, I want to do it gently. DH would probably do some CIO if I wasn't so adamant about avoiding it. I think he feels like we don't have a lot of options so I have a feeling it will be on me to be the patient one.

ETA: Thank you for sharing, as always.

With Jake, I feel we were lucky. He weaned away from nursing all on his own around 13 months. At that point, he was content with our night time routine and laying down for bed. The two things that helped him stay in bed were 1. allowing him to go to bed while holding a sippy of water (he rarely drank it) and 2. he insisted that daddy lay on the floor in the room with him. Now that he is older, it is easier to turn off the light, say good night and walk away. I was worried about how things would work out and I feel lucky that Jake did it on his own. Regarding her getting hyper when she is tired... the one other thing we learned was that an earlier bedtime was in order in order to prevent Jake from getting overtired. (It also helps with his night terrors). We'd start our bedtime routine around 6:50 and we had lights out at 7:30.

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"Cali26" wrote:

With Jake, I feel we were lucky. He weaned away from nursing all on his own around 13 months. At that point, he was content with our night time routine and laying down for bed. The two things that helped him stay in bed were 1. allowing him to go to bed while holding a sippy of water (he rarely drank it) and 2. he insisted that daddy lay on the floor in the room with him. Now that he is older, it is easier to turn off the light, say good night and walk away. I was worried about how things would work out and I feel lucky that Jake did it on his own. Regarding her getting hyper when she is tired... the one other thing we learned was that an earlier bedtime was in order in order to prevent Jake from getting overtired. (It also helps with his night terrors). We'd start our bedtime routine around 6:50 and we had lights out at 7:30.

See, this is really hard for us. Jason doesn't get home from work until 6:15 to 6:30. We usually sit down to eat between 6:30 to 7:15, depending on how much I was able to get done before he got home. There are some evenings that it is very difficult to cook because Jordan will be very clingy and so I have to wait for him to get home so I can finish. Then, I swear, it takes us 45 minutes to eat dinner with her. I have no idea why it takes so long. That usually only leaves us 30 minutes at most for Jason and Jordan to have a little time to play before bath, PJ's and nursing. Jordan's bedtime is about 8:30-8:45 (which has been the case for a long time). I figure that is why she is up around 8am instead of 6:30 to 7 like a lot of kids? I know it's a late bedtime but it is what works with our family's schedule and I hate to cut out their little bit of time together in the evening.

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"Kayla1981" wrote:

See, this is really hard for us. Jason doesn't get home from work until 6:15 to 6:30. We usually sit down to eat between 6:30 to 7:15, depending on how much I was able to get done before he got home. There are some evenings that it is very difficult to cook because Jordan will be very clingy and so I have to wait for him to get home so I can finish. Then, I swear, it takes us 45 minutes to eat dinner with her. I have no idea why it takes so long. That usually only leaves us 30 minutes at most for Jason and Jordan to have a little time to play before bath, PJ's and nursing. Jordan's bedtime is about 8:30-8:45 (which has been the case for a long time). I figure that is why she is up around 8am instead of 6:30 to 7 like a lot of kids? I know it's a late bedtime but it is what works with our family's schedule and I hate to cut out their little bit of time together in the evening.

I completely understand! Dh gets home between 6:15-6:45 (unless it's tax season which is later). Because of J's night terrors (different than nightmares) we have to do the early bedtime which leaves me every day to make a quick dinner right after we get home from school/work and eat without him. DH then tries to eat really fast when he gets home while I get the boys bathed. DH spends time with J while I put T to bed. Our nights go by so fast and I hate that DH doesn't get as much time with the boys. But if J gets overtired, he is almost guaranteed to have night terrors (I am praying that he outgrows these sooner than later).

Know that it all works out!!

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That must be really tough. I feel so bad that J has night terrors.

I also hate that poor Evie has nightmares. Sad

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Since Alison has been cutting molars, the sleep schedule has gone completely out the window. She has been falling asleep fine but waking up either hysterical (night terrors) or all amped up and ready to play. I have even started co-sleeping in hopes that maybe if she is with us she will feel better but nope. Same old thing! And...she still wakes up at least once and wants a bottle! Apparently, my little girl who never really liked sleep as a newborn still doesn't!! Smile And, if DH lets her take a nap anytime after 2pm, she will be up until like 10pm! ACK!!!

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"Kayla1981" wrote:

I guess my only concern is that she has a lot of teeth now and I do not want to do any damage

I can't find the source right now, but I read an article a couple of weeks ago about how it's the cows milk, food, juice, etc that leads to tooth decay and wearing down of the enamel. Not breast milk. There's apparently something in the milk that keeps it from being nearly as much of a problem as everything else is with teeth.

I hope you find better sleep solutions for your family soon. I've had people tell me to put Aiden to bed sooner, but an 8ish bedtime works well for us since it means that most nights DH gets to see DS for at least a few minutes.

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What's with all these poor kiddos having night terrors and nightmares?

Jackie, that is good to know. I had been meaning to check Kellymom for some info on that.

Things really are going pretty well considering where we used to be. I was more curious on how others routines had evolved over time, that's all.

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Yes, there are studies that show that the antibacterial properties in breastmilk prevent cavities, although many dentists still advocate brushing after nursing. This is a popular topic in my attachment parenting group.

I don't really remember now how we transitioned Daphne. She was never a comfort nurser and never really fell asleep at the breast. Until around 9 months or a year, we used to bounce her to sleep on a yoga ball. I would often lay her down drowsy, but DH would stay in her room forever bouncing her...I think he relished the time with her since he misses out on so much during the week.

Now we brush teeth, read a book or three and then it's lights out. She has a sound machine that we've used since she was born, and I think it helps. Some nights she's asleep in 5 minutes, sometimes she comes out of her room 800 times and it takes an hour or more for her to fall asleep.