Having a set routine at bedtime has definately helped JB settle down more easily and us reclaim some of our evening. Before this we were struggling to get her to bed and she didn’t seem to be getting tired when we were putting her down, which was leading to frustration on both sides.
Our routine has evolved as we have tried new things and ironed-out the timings, and also as JB got a bit older. I’m sure that it could be improved, but it works for us at the moment.
Bathtime fun – around 6:30pm
We give JB a bath every night. We try to start running it by half six but this sometimes slips a little if dinner overruns or we have visitors.
It’s not really a big problem since the nipper loves being in the bath and playing with her toys. We just make bathtime last as long as necessary to start the milk feed at the same time each night.
Feeding – 7:00pm
With some background music on, we settle down in the rocking chair and JB can have as much of her bottle as she wants. Often she’ll have about half the bottle at this time.
Once she’s done, we sit on the floor and share a book together. Generally I read the book and she tries to eat it. It takes about 5 minutes and is enough to give her a little break from the feed.
We then sit back down and I give her a toy to play with while she finishes the milk. Sometimes she’ll accept the bottle again straight away, other times it takes a bit longer.
Sleepy time – around 7:45pm
Once she’s finished her milk, we clean her teeth (careful she doesn’t gag on the brush!) and put her into the sleeping bag.
We have a little bedtime book that we sit and read together every night. This is JB’s cue to get ready for sleep. I try to stick to the same words and actions as we read with “Goodnight baby” added at the end. She then cuddles up on my shoulder and I turn out the lights.
I sing her a few songs from my (albeit limited) repertoire until she is very sleepy then put some music on her monitor (which only gets played at bedtime) then lay her into bed.