What came first, the good sleeper or the routine? It's hard to know whether Teddy was born a good sleeper or if the routines we implemented from day one at home assisted him to be one. Let's call it 50/50!
When mum's are telling me I just got lucky and the next baby will be a nightmare, I do remind myself that Teddy went through some rough stages with sleep. James and I worked hard to create positive associations with sleep and develop his skill to self settle. We've always approached it with the philosophy that "we do the hard work now so that it's easier later".
A lot of people fall into a trap of doing what is easy in the moment, the bandaid fixes, and it ends up just dragging out the sleepless nights. Here is what Teddy's bedtime routine has looked like from day one and why I think it has been so successful.
I'll start off by saying, The Kind Parenting Company (previously The Sleep Mama) really saved me here. I purchased their programs before falling pregnant and after much research. Their program, social media and support team responding to any query I had were such a saviour for me!
There were certain routines that we implemented with Teddy from day one of getting home from the hospital. These were by no means harsh, cold tactics to get him to sleep through, he was a newborn baby! We simply wanted indications for him to know that bedtime was time for a different kind of sleep. It was a clear separation of day from night and I think this was the real beginning of our success.
Over time, things have come in and out of this routine as he has gotten older, but the general routine has stayed the same.
Get into sleep suit
Put into bed
Dinner (now that he's eating solids)
Bath or shower
Moisturise and massage
Change into pyjamas
Get into sleep suit
Read 2 books
Sing a bedtime song
Put into bed
He has always known that bedtime is time for a bigger sleep and I think that this routine really helped him to make that connection.
Over the first 3 months we implemented some things that we knew we didn't want to be apart of our long term settling technique. Teddy had a dummy at bed time to help him settle to sleep and the moment I realised that he was waking in the night only needing the dummy to settle back to sleep, I knew it had to go. It was no longer working for us. He was also waking at 5am every morning and a lot of light was making it into his room, I believed that this was the cause of the early wake ups.
We decided to introduce positive sleep associations and remove the negative ones. There is so much more detail about this and why it is important in the sleep programs.
Rocking/cuddling to sleep
Blackout blinds (link)
White noise machine
Jellycat bunny - discount code from MissKyreeLoves
After these introductions, Teddy started sleeping 14 hours a night! I'm not saying that's normal, expected or you should aim for it, but it was a great improvement from 5am wake ups!
The only function of Teddy's bedroom is for sleep, he does not play in there at all. When we enter the room at nap time or bedtime, he begins rubbing his eyes. As soon as I put him down in his cot, he grabs a hold of his bunny, rubs its ears and falls asleep. He knows that this environment and these objects signify sleep.
We start daycare next week, but we believe all these things are transferrable to any environment. Stay tuned!
I'm a 30 year old mother of 1 (soon to be 2!) and freelance Graphic Designer - just working my butt off trying to find that work/life balance. I have passions for all things design, sustainability and organisation and I love to share what helps me on a day to day basis with general #mumlife.