Our 1st full nights sleep as a family!
Having cuddles with his daddy at 5 days old!
As our son is reaching his 11th week and sleeping for around 8-9 hours at night, we have decided that it is probably about time to introduce a bedtime routine.
I know that I myself have been putting this off for a while (primarily because my son HATES having a bath, a key part of the 'routine') and decided we were going to have to introduce a routine soon. I will be returning back to work (part-time) in the next few weeks and we would love to have couple of hours every evening for 'Mummy and Daddy Time'.
Baby LB has been sleeping well since I had increased his feeds to 6oz around 2 weeks ago. He has been sleeping between 7 and 9 hours a night, with 2 or 3 small naps in the day. The issue is that he has no set bedtime, no set time for his last feed and is only having 3 baths a week (partly due to me dreading them!) We are also bathing, feeding, getting his PJ's on and settling him downstairs before putting him down upstairs in his cot. Some nights he will not go to bed until 11pm with us and wake up at around 7am, yet other nights he goes to sleep around 8pm and can be WIDE AWAKE by 4!
Baby LB snoozing whilst being burped!
Me and my partner had a lengthy discussion about exactly what we were going to include in our routine and what time we would like to begin the winding down process. We needed to be able to be slightly flexible with times as my partner often works long hours, and can be home late. We needed to be a able to do the whole routine alone, as my partner is usually away for a couple of days during the week and also go to classes at the gym in the evenings.
We decided that we would start the routine between 8 and 9pm (slightly later than most, but convenient for our family) and that would include: a bath (or shower as you will discover later on!), a relaxing bedtime massage, getting dressed into PJs, a bedtime story with a cuddle and finally a feed.
When the time came...
My partner arrived home around 6:30, was sat down for dinner around 7:30 and after doing the washing up, I went up to the bedroom to prepare everything we needed for LB's routine.
I have done a lot of research online about what to do with babies that do not enjoy a bath. I'd found that this was quite common, and read that showering with a parent can relax baby, as they feel safe in your arms. Also skin-to-skin contact, as we all know, soothes baby. After much convincing, my partner agreed to take a shower with LB. I was so unsure of how my son would react in the shower. As I got LB undressed and passed him to him to his daddy in the shower. I was so nervous - hoping that we'd get a more positive reaction than in the bath!
LB Snuggling in his towel!
TOTAL SUCCESS! LB adored his shower, even laughing as daddy put his head under the water. It was such a relief to know that we could now wash our son without him getting all worked up!
I snuggled him up in his hooded towel, dried him and put his nappy on with not as much as a whimper. I then switched off the light and turned on the Chicco Goodnight Stars projector whilst I gently massaged LB's legs and tummy with Grapeseed Oil.
I dressed him in his PJ's, (by this time he was very sleepy!) cuddled him in tight and began to read him Peepo! by Janet and Allan Ahlberg (an awesome book for babies!). When I'd got to the last page, LB was snoring and ready for bed.
I dream-fed him a bottle he only managed 3oz before he'd take no more! I placed him in his cot, switched on his Gro Egg and his monitor and waited for ten minutes in the hallway before finally going downstairs.
LB did not stir until 3am, and this was only for his soother! He then slept until 8am, making daddy late for work as he was in such a deep sleep. Having an evening to ourselves was such a nice experience although we must have gone upstairs 5 times each to check on him!
The highlight of our 1st night of 'Mummy and Daddy time' was catching up on The Great British Bake-off and Corrie (much to my partners delight... NOT!) and having coffee and biscuits.
... fingers crossed this carries on!