Our Bedtime Routine
First of all, these photos had me about in tears. Lacey LOVES books and watching her play with them (and destroy them 😂) warms my heart. I’ll put five toys in front of her, and every time she reaches for the book. I’ve been reading to her since very early on so I like to pretend that’s why she’s interested, but I’m pretty sure it’s because she loves all of the colors and textures and ripping out the pages!
I was adamant about starting a bedtime routine from the first few weeks. I wanted Lacey to be able to understand the difference between nap time and bedtime, and even though it would take her a while to catch on, I knew it wouldn’t hurt to start early.
Here are the few things we did from the very beginning:
Low light: Nothing triggers bedtime like a low light setting. I would put her bathroom light on and close the door most of the way in the winter. Now that it’s nearly summer, there’s still so much light in her room that we don’t even need to do this. I simply close all of her shades and we’re good to go. Lacey wakes up around 5:30-5:45am every morning, and we think it’s because light peeks into her room even though we have “blackout shades.” So I ordered these velcro shades to go underneath, and her room will be completely dark for bedtime from now on! (And my hope is that she sleeps later, too!)
Naked baby time + getting dressed in the same spot: We have a spot on Lacey’s floor where we place one of her blankets and all of the lotions/diaper stuff that need to go on her bottom before bedtime. Lacey has super sensitive skin, so we don’t bathe her every night—she gets a bath every three days. But, we do put lotion on her skin and let her roll around naked or in her diaper for a few minutes before we dress her. She used to love this, but now she associates this with bedtime and knows her bottle is coming, so she melts down as soon as she hits this blanket!
That said, we still do it and some nights are better than others! She also doesn’t love being on her back AT ALL except for sleeping now that she can sit. She’s a very independent baby!
Same playlist: I’ve been using this Spotify playlist since day one. She is instantly soothed by the music and will often fall half asleep while drinking her bottle. It’s so adorable! Babies are smart and pick up on things quickly. This is an easy way to trigger bedtime even in a super young baby.
Swaddle/Merlin/Sleep sack before the bottle: When I was breastfeeding at night, we would get Lacey all situated in her swaddle between boobs. Now that she gets a bottle, we put her in her sleep sack (which used to be the Merlin) before. This way, she’s all set up and when we lay her on her back after her bottle, it’s because it’s time for bed.
Lullabies after the bottle: I’m no Adele, but Lacey does love to hear me sing. So after Ryan is done giving her the bottle, I come back in and sing her a lullaby to give her a few minutes to digest and get her extra sleepy. We’ve got our routine so down that she looks for me now while Ryan is burping her and she knows I’m about to come in to sing to her!
Speaking of our routine, here’s everything laid out for you:
If it’s a bath night, we head upstairs at 5:40pm. Otherwise…
5:50pm: Head upstairs, lay Lacey down on the floor, get her naked, put on all of her lotions for eczema, let her play, get her dressed—diaper, onesie (I love Baby Gap ones), sleep sack, bib (we use a bib at night now because sometimes the bottle leaks and it’s not worth changing her midway through)
6pm: Ryan starts the bottle
6:20pm: Ryan burbs her, I come in
6:30pm: Sing, give lots of kisses, put down in crib
90% of the time, she’s asleep by 6:45pm. We’ve talked about putting her down later, because she’s up between 5:30-6:30am, but she’s so done by the end of the day she’s ready for bed! We’re hoping the new blackout shades we bought help her sleep in a little later…TBD :)
What about you ladies – what does your bedtime routine look like? What time does your little one go down? I always find it fascinating how different everyone’s routines are! Any tips to help me get Lacey down later so she’ll sleep later?