Thursday, March 9, 2017

Our Bedtime Routine

We have a baby. A baby baby, not a fake baby. (I know  a lady who calls a two year old a baby, and another one who thinks an 8 year old is still a baby. She really means it too.)

We follow the on-demand, attachment parenting style. When she cries for food, I feed her, even if she ate half an hour ago. If she needs to be held, I hold her. All day. And all night (it can be rough). Because that's what she needs.

But this does not stop us from having a bedtime routine. And a very strict, solid bed time. You see, even with the attachment, and on demand stuff we've got going on, I still think it's important to get your kiddos on a schedule. How we did this was watching for cues as to when Monkey is tired. Babies will usually get tired around the same time every day, and we set our schedule accordingly. She let us know when she needs bedtime, so we ran with it.

The Routine

Pajamas and Disposable Diaper
Read from Chapter Book (we are currently reading Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, a favorite of mine)
Get in Sleep Sack 
Read, in the same order every night: 
Snuggle Puppy
The Going To Bed Book 
Night Night Forest Friends
Lie in crib- sing You Are My Sunshine (sometimes)
Go to sleep (hopefully) 

No Bath? 

You will probably notice that bath is not part of the bedtime routine for us. Babies have very sensitive skin, and having a bath every night can do more harm than good, especially when they are newborns (less than 4 weeks old) if you or your spouse have sensitive skin as well. Since Monkey is not mobile, she doesn't roll around in dirt or get food all over her, we have no reason to bathe her every single night. So we don't. 

If it's a bath night, we do it before pajamas and diaper. Side note: we cloth diaper most of the time, so her getting a disposable and a change of clothes lets her know it's time to sleep. 

A Chapter Book at 4 months Old? 

Yes. While I was pregnant, I read chapter books out loud to the kiddos in my class at summer camp. I decided to keep it going with her after summer camp ended, and kept reading out loud to her, still in-utero, to finish up the book. I read scriptures out loud to her in the mornings too. 

The key to reading a chapter book out loud to your infant, is to follow their cues. Some times I get a paragraph out before she's done. Sometimes, I get two whole pages done. It's just a matter of what kind of mood Monkey is in. 

What is a Sleep Sack? 

It's... a sleeping bag for babies. Basically, it's a sack that zips up the front and has arms. This way baby can be warm, since you should not use blankets in a crib, and still have freedom to self soothe because they can move their arms and hands to get a binkie or suck their thumb. We only use ours for night time sleeping, not naps. This is just another way to cue our baby that it's night time and we expect her to sleep longer. 

The Same Three Books... Every Night? 

Again, yes. They are bedtime based books, so when she gets older she will understand what bedtime is, and why we read those books at bedtime. The same exact books, in the same exact order make the routine just that, Routine. She knows that when we pull out Snuggle Puppy it's almost time to get in the crib and sleep. 

If you think a few months old is too young to notice things like this, well, give it a try. I can tell you that on nights when Monkey is not very tired, the bedtime books come out and she freaks out because she does not want to go to bed!

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