If I had to guess what the number 1 question mums of new bubs get asked it would be … “Are you getting enough sleep?”
I never knew how much I really loved sleep until I had a baby haha. Sleeping-in in the mornings would have to be one of the biggest luxuries I experience these days and it doesn’t cost a thing. Even when you have a good sleeper, you still have early mornings with kids and after 9 years that has yet to change for us.
Some would say that I was lucky and others would say it was good routine but I somehow managed to have 3 children who were pretty good sleepers during the night. I have always joked that the first year of working out my baby was mostly project management. I am quite good at systems, processes, to do lists, routines and planning and somehow found these skills quite useful when I had a baby.
For me the key was always routine. I know people often talk about routine when it comes to babies but I think that is because it actually works. It’s funny as I look back on those early days because I think having a routine was more about keeping me sane than just for the baby to get into a more predictable pattern.
For the first 6 months of each of my baby’s lives, every afternoon looked pretty much the same. Once 5pm hit it was bath time and by 6pm it was feeding time and then bed. For all 3 of my children I use to wake them at 10pm for a dream feed. This worked for us and I would go to sleep myself after that feed. All 3 of them would wake for another feed at around 2pm and then straight back to bed and up again around 6am for another feed and a play. I did this same routine for all 3 of my babies which looked different on the occasional evening but I stuck to that. I would keep doing it even if it wasn’t working and they would slowly get back into the routine. Some people say don’t ever feed your baby to sleep but I did and it was never really an issue for us as they got older.
Once they hit 6 months we were still bathing at 5pm every night, dinner at 5:30pm, books at 6pm and then boob/bottle and bed. EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT. It’s funny because my children are now 9, 6 and 2 and it is still bath time at 5pm in our house and dinner at 6pm every night.
I was a little obsessive about the routine and it didn’t matter where we were at the time … once it hit 5pm my baby was having a bath. Looking back I can see that at times this lead to a bit of anxiety when things did not go to plan. The plan was my security blanket, but as I have become a more experienced mum, I have learnt to relax a bit more.
I remember clearly reading somewhere about the 3-step routine which was clinically proven to help babies and toddlers 7 to 36 months sleep better in just one week.
The 3 steps included a warm bath, gentle massage and quiet time (reading books / dimming lights and listening to gentle music) then bed. I probably didn’t stick to that perfectly every night but in general the routine worked for me … maybe we were lucky!
What works for you .. .I’d love to hear your experience and ideas.