baby bedtime routine

We’ve been using the same bedtime routine for Elsie since she was around four months old. At around 6-6:30pm we’d take her for a bath, get her dressed and ready for bed and then sit in her darkened room and feed her. Usually she’d nod off drinking the last few ounces and we’d put her down. Yep – we put her down asleep! Call the police. Seriously though, we’ve probably made a rod for our own backs and now we’re battling a baby that wants milk in the night to get herself back to sleep.

It’s definitely time to change our routine but it’s hard going and it’s only day three.

We discussed all the ways we could wean her off these night time feeds but we’ve opted for cold turkey. Sounds harsh doesn’t it but so far so good. We’ve had two nights of no feeds. But we’ve also had two nights of listening to her cry it out. I’m not all clued up on the techniques and their names but I guess we’re doing a form of controlled crying or sleep training?! We go in and settle her and put her music on and then leave her for five minutes. If, after five minutes, she is still crying we go back in again and do the same. We repeat this to a maximum gap of fifteen minutes. So far she has settled herself after the third time of going in and so we’ve kept at it. Supposedly it could take a week or so to break the cycle but we’re thinking of the long term and hopefully a week or two of pain for us both will mean a better nights sleep all around.

I hope that doesn’t sound selfish.

The Health Visitor agreed she needs to sleep through and was happy for us to crack on weaning her off bottles but she suggested offering water. I think part of the reason Elsie wakes is for a cuddle so I don’t think this would help much.

Unfortunately, this week has been pretty rough for Elsie as she also has a cold and seems to be teething (they may be linked) so we’ve had the Calpol out and we’ve had a cot covered in vomit. It’s hard to implement any kind of new routine when your baby is ill but now we’ve started we need to see it through. Matt is so much better at being hard on her then I am but I know it’s in all our best interests.

It’s bloody hard though. Although we’re not feeding her we’re still awake three times a night trying to settle her and listening to her cry on and off. I’m praying that when the cough and cold disappears she will sleep much more soundly. Every time she lies down at the moment she coughs.

Did you need to implement some kind of new routine to get your baby to sleep or did they do it by themselves? If they managed it on their own how old were they? Elsie will be 11 months old on April 21st and so I don’t think we’re expecting too much but she’s just such a cuddly little duck I feel so awful for her!

You can read about Elsie’s five month update here.

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I certainly don’t regret for one minute the decisions I made raising my two children so far, they were the right decisions for our situation at that moment in time.  However, since we have been trying to conceive and subsequently falling pregnant I have been thinking about raising baby and things I’ll do differently now I have the opportunity to do so.

I think this pregnancy could possibly be my last, after all come May we will have filled all our bedrooms, so I want to do the things I never had the chance to do previously either due to financial restraints or some other reason.  I don’t, for example, want to regret not trying harder to breast feed. In fact not breastfeeding my son was not my choice in the end.  Logan turned out to be a very sleepy/lazy little baby and didn’t really want to latch on. I struggled in hospital to get it right but due to his reluctance to latch and love of sleep he would go for hours without a proper feed so we resorted to formula.  With Florence, I think I missed a trick.  She had a great first feed after birth, her latch was instant and she fed for a good half an hour or more (I can’t quite remember, it’s a blue surprisingly).  Given my experience with Logan I felt too nervous to continue with BF and so turned to formula once again.  I never even gave BF a shot.  I further came to regret my decision when Florence’s bowels didn’t seem to take too kindly to the formula we choose. Suffice to say this time I intend to stick at it.  My aim is to BF for three months following birth and then slowly switch to formula, but each baby is different and so only time will tell if this actually happens!

I was 24 when I fell pregnant with Logan and we had just moved into a small, one bedroomed flat.  My wage was the main income for our household and I just couldn’t afford the time off.  I worked until 10 days before I had Logan and went back after six weeks because I couldn’t afford the drop to statutory pay. We were lucky to have grandparents which were willing to baby sit as and when needed.  With Florence, I ended up finishing work earlier then planned, around 37 weeks gestation, due to some measurement issues with my bump.  I was told to take it easy otherwise I’d probably end up being induced which was totally against my birth plan. This time around we were slightly more stable financially and I was able to take around 4-5 months off work before placing Florence in nursery so I could start a new job.  I really regret all those magical moments that I missed.  Receiving a text message from your mother in law to say your sons just taken their first steps is heart-breaking although it was sent with good intentions.  I never really weaned Florence, she went to nursery on bottles of milk and even when she was eating solids she was dropped off at 7:30am for breakfast and was collected at 6pm after she’d eaten her dinner so my only real job as a mum was a few cuddles with the bedtime bottle.  It makes me quite sad looking back at all the moments I’ve missed but it’s these moments that inspire me to be the best mum I can be from now onwards.

This time around, I plan to take at least the full 9 months maternity leave.  Having not had the opportunity to do this previously I can fully appreciate how lucky I am.

On the subject of weaning, which I guess is each to their own, but I intend to do things a little differently this time around.  Logan ate from jars, a lot (not really sure why when we could barely afford to eat ourselves).  I’m not saying jars are wrong or whatever, in fact Logan’s a very clever and lean little sod, but my personal choice now is to provide home cooked food as a first choice.  With Florence we did the fresh food offer as much as possible, her first tastes were pureed carrot and banana I believe. We continued pureeing for a few months and over time increased how lumpy the food was to encourage her to chew a little.  This time though I plan to offer a lot more finger food, I think it’s called baby led weaning.  Cooked carrot sticks, broccoli, stewed apples…anything which can be offered in a relatively soft form will be.

On a more practical note, we really cocked up the night feeds with Florence.  In the very early days, mainly due to excitement and worry both myself and Matt were getting up to help sort Florence out thus both waking up feeling like death in the morning.  Since having Florence Matts job has change quite significantly and he works crazy, long hours and so night after night of broken sleep just isn’t an option for him.  Plus, if I do get on well with breastfeeding there really won’t be a need for him to wake up anyway.  Our plan, albeit we know it may change, is to have a single bed in the nursery where I will sleep during the week for the very early days.  Matts a light sleeper and even if he doesn’t get out of bed a crying baby will certainly wake him up.  Once we have a good routine going and perhaps the baby can do six hours without waking we might revert back to normal arrangements.  It’s one of those ‘suck it and see’ things really.  I know I’m going to feel rotten for a few weeks but I’ve just got to man up and get on with it.  it doesn’t last forever, although it feels like it will at the time. I get quite peeved if the house isn’t tidy when Matt gets home but I guess it’s going to have to slide for a few weeks whilst I nap instead of empty the dishwasher or whatever the job is that needs doing!

One other thing that we are doing differently this time is investing in a tumble dryer! There are four of us in the house at the moment and we constantly have ugly clothes airers everywhere.  Add another messy little person to this and I don’t stand a chance!  Our new house has a lovely space for a condenser dryer so fill the gap we shall!

If you’re pregnant with a subsequent child, what do you plan to do differently?

You can follow my pregnancy journey on Instagram here.

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