If you've ever been a sleep-deprived, desperate Mother, you've more than likely googled "my baby won't sleep!" and been inundated with women in a similar situation, with endless ideas of things that helped their babies, and please, PLEASE, God let it help mine. Luckily, getting Ada to sleep in the evenings has never really been our problem, she's always gone down with absolutely no issue (the issue was keeping her asleep!), and one of the things I think contributed to that was a good night-time routine.
From just a couple months old, we had an evening routine in place that we stuck to every. single. night, so it gave Ada a little heads up that hey, mummy and daddy are tired now, it's sleepy time for you. Here's the ways we created the perfect bedtime routine for Ada.
1. Establish a bedtime.
I haven't met that many babies, but all the ones I have, have loved a routine. We didn't have a full routine in place every day for Ada until a few months old, but once we did, she seemed so much happier knowing when her next nap was going to be. Establish a bedtime and stick to it; for us Ada is always in bed by 6.30 (usually 7 at the latest), with her tea at 5.30 and bathtime at 6. She has her second nap of the day at around 2pm, waking at 3, so that gives her 3 and a half hours of awake time before she goes down, meaning she's sleepy but not overtired. It's good to know just how much sleep your baby needs, and not to keep them awake for too long a period, depending on their age.
2. Keep it Consistent.
Like I mentioned above, Ada has tea, then bath, then bed, and again, that's every single night. Once something becomes regular, babies can cotton on pretty quickly what's about to happen, and Ada has always settled immediately after being put in her cot, knowing that after her bath and bedtime routine, it's time to sleep.
3. Add a few steps.
It's good to let them wind down a bit after the day, so it's not just bathtime then bed for us. With Ada we really dim the lights, perhaps put on some soft music, and do a few minutes of baby massage. We've been using a couple of products from Frezyderm recently to keep Ada's skin hydrated and protected whilst she's in bed; they both have such a lovely scent and I've been so impressed with them. We've found it's good not to rush through these steps, and let baby really relax after their day.
4. Say the same things.
I know it sounds a little silly, but I even go so far as to always say the same things to Ada before I put her down. After she's done feeding, I'll say "Mama loves you, night night princess, it's sleepy time" before putting her down. It might not work at all, but hey, there's no harm in trying!
A bedtime routine is something so simple to add to your babies day, but is something Ada has always loved and it's seemed to really help her settle in the evenings. You can make it long, short, complicated or simple, whatever works for you and your baby.