Now that Charlotte is a month old, I've decided she needs to man up and start following a routine. No, just kidding ... but I have noticed that she's starting to fall into relatively predictable patterns of eat, sleep, and play. So, I thought maybe I could work some sort of routine into the routine that she's set out for herself.
She usually eats around suppertime (anywhere in the 5-6ish range) and then again around 8:30-9:00ish. I decided last night to try and use that late evening feeding as the "bedtime" feeding and attempt to get her to bed before midnight or later. Usually she eats again around 11:30/midnight but I was hoping to at least get her some good sleep before that. So, last night she ate at suppertime, played a bit, and then about half an hour or so before she'd be "due" to eat again (ie. before she'd start smacking and giving me the sucky face) I gave her a bath, massaged her with some bedtime lotion (mmm Aveeno), put on a clean diaper, put on clean pyjamas, and put her in her sleep sack. I fed her at 9:00 in the rocking chair and she was conked out on my shoulder by about quarter after 9. I waited to make sure, put her in her cradle at 9:30, and she was out!
Not only did she fall asleep so deeply so early, she stayed asleep until 1am! And even when she woke up to eat then, I don't think she was fully awake. She kept her eyes shut while she drank and was back asleep in her cradle by twenty after. Awesome.
However ... then she woke up at 4:30 and was all "hey Mom, wanna chat with me? Listen to all the things I have to tell you while I drink this bottle. I'm so noisy! Look how wide open my eyes are! Aren't I adorable? Mom, why aren't you talking to me? Listen to what I have to saaaaaay!"
Mommy was not impressed.
I ended up bringing her back upstairs to rock her back to sleep because I was tired and did not want to stay up at 5am. She drifted off a little bit and after a good half an hour of rocking, I decided to just put her in her cradle and she can talk herself to sleep if she so desired. The second I put her in her cradle, she was out like a light. What a goober! It didn't last long, though, so I ended up pulling her onto my chest, patting her bum while I dozed, and finally got her back to sleep and into her cradle at 6am.
At 8:30am, we were up for the day. Well ... I am. She's conked back out in her swing, just like every morning. I won't be going back to sleep though. It's time to get up, have my tea, and catch up on my internet stuff.
So, aside from her little party at 4:30 in the morning, I'd say my first attempt at a bedtime routine was a success! I also think she would have slept a bit longer past 4:30 had she drank more of her bottle at 1:00. She only had about 2oz so it didn't fill her up enough to stay sleeping. I know before this, she'd only wake up once per night and last night she was up twice ... but I much prefer her (and me!) going to bed at a regular time instead of midnight or later. That's really the only reason she'd wake up once - because she was up so late to begin with!
For the other parents out there - do you have a bedtime routine? What does it look like? When did you start working on a routine with your children? How long did it take before it actually became a routine?
I'm hoping last night wasn't a fluke and we can keep this pleasantness going!