Newborn Bedtime Routine
October 18, 2018
Now that our family has a newborn baby, our friends, family, and strangers feel compelled to ask, “Does your newborn sleep through the night?” You can imagine the surprise on their face when we respond by saying, “Our newborn baby sleeps through the night!”
People always respond by saying, “Oh wow, you must have a good newborn then!” The truth is, I worked really hard to create an environment and routine designed to help our newborn achieve a successful sleep.
Before I even explain my entire routine with Jade, I want to say we started a routine with her RIGHT AWAY. I know people will say time and time again that a newborn does not need to fall into a routine, that they should sleep and feed how ever many times they want, but after our sleepless nights for an entire year with Little Drew, Big Drew and I agreed we would do things differently with Jade.
For starters, we co-slept with Drew. This was such a mistake for us. Did I love co-sleeping? Yes, I loved every minute of it because for one, it is super convenient to pop out the boob and allow for your newborn to suck with little to no effort. Secondly, it is adorable; you have your baby right at arm’s length, but guess what? Those two reasons brought on major consequences. I nursed so much through the night that Drew only wanted to sleep with me and not in a crib, bassinet, rock-and-play or swing. He became super clingy and because I would just ‘pop the boob out’ for him at any given time, he began to comfort nurse twenty.four.seven. He was an avid nurser. I was his human pacifier, no joke. I nursed during the day for thirty minutes then got a break of fifteen minutes at a time. This was my schedule for the first six months of his existence before he backed off his longer feeds. I never had time to eat or shower so I lost a lot of weight (I weighed ninety pounds for eight months) and was super dehydrated, lacking nutrients too.
So when we agreed to exclusively breastfeed our next baby, Big Drew and I were firm on the ‘no co-sleeping’ because you guys, Drew struggled with sleeping through the night for over a year. He woke up every second, and if I tried to put him down, he would wake up, cry, and feed all over again (but for comfort, not hunger). It was a nightmare so I knew not to go through that again.
There are people who co-sleep, and I kindly smile, but I get goosebumps because I think back to my first year as a first time mom and how much I suffered.
When Drew turned one, Drew and I were at our wit’s end. We began weaning him off the boob (for starters) and having him sleep by himself in his crib, Boppy pillow— basically anywhere BUT our bed. It worked though; by eighteen months, he was sleeping through the night, not waking up at all, and ’till this day (I kid you not), he has not slept with us in our bed. Praise the Lord.
So now, fast forward to Jade and what we have established with her and what is working for us.
By the way, I apologize because this is definitely a longer post than my other ones, but I had to emphasize our night time horror experience with Drew so you could understand the importance of our firm routine with Jade now.
I call our routine the Four B’s: Bath, Book, Boob, Bed
You got that?
Bath: Every single night at 7:50, I fill up her tub with warm water and get her bath products all set up with her clean pajamas, diaper, gripe water, hair brush, and book ready for afterwards. At 8:00, she is ready for her bath.
I spend twenty minutes giving her a bath. I’m not sure if this is too long, but she does not get pruney, and she really enjoys her bath-time now (she HATED it the first month). I also enjoy it because she smiles and coos a lot.
I take her out, clean up the bathroom, change, brush her hair, and give her nighttime gripe water.
Book: I select one book and read to her. This is the only step that I do not always follow. Why you ask if I’m so firm on our routine? I only skip this step if I notice she is not having it and beginning to get aggravated while I’m reading to her. Sometimes the bath tires her out that she is just ready to be fed.
Boob: I exclusively breastfeed Jade, and if you’ve been following my Instagram stories, you’ll know she does not take a bottle at all so it is me feeding her all day, every day. I feed her until she latches off. I do NOT let her fall asleep on my boob. I do not allow her to use me as a pacifier because then she’ll want to remain latched to me all day like Drew used to (and that is a no-no). So I’m thankful she detaches herself, and then I put her down.
Bed: By 9:00 p.m., she is passed out and sleeping in her rock-and-play. We do not have her in a crib. She remains reclined up because she spits up A LOT. She sometimes chokes so I fear keeping her on her back in her bassinet where she can potentially gag in her sleep.
This has been the routine since month one. Yeah, she has been sleeping perfectly since the four week mark. The first four weeks, she would grunt through the night while she slept, and it confused us because we were not sure if something was wrong. This is why we include gripe water before her night feed because it helps with hiccups, which she had a lot of. It stopped her loud grunts too. It is our holy grail product.
When she goes down the first time at nine, she falls into a deep sleep, but twenty to thirty minutes later, I will dream feed her. She will suckle for ten minutes, get swaddled in her Love To Dream (not always) and get put back down in her rock-and-play for the night. For some reason, this is something I have done, and I have not stopped doing it. The extra snuggle and full belly keeps her sleeping from ten p.m. to six a.m.
Even when she wakes up at six, it is to get a ten minute feed in, and then she falls back to sleep until ten or eleven o-clock! She loves to sleep, but it is great because I can wake up, get Drew changed, and fed. By the time we are done, she is beginning to wake up.
So, this is our entire night time routine with Jade. The Four B’s: Bath, Book, Boob, and Bed is how we got our baby sleeping through the night.
I’m not an expert by any means, but this is mine and Big Drew’s personal experience that works. Jade has had three leap stages, and it has not affected her sleep either so we are going to continue this routine until the time comes in which things need to get shifted a bit. Even our oldest thrives on his schedule. We have him on a daily routine (which includes his bed time routine) and it works wonders for him.
I know when I tell people she is on a routine, we get raised eyebrows because people have their reserved opinions about sleep training, but everyone is getting their sleep, and my daughter is not starving. If she wanted to wake up because she felt troubled, then she would have by now, and if she ever does, then I will be there to feed her and then put her back down to sleep. In any case, making sure our baby gets good, restful sleep is our main goal because it is vital to her development, and it is vital to mine and Daddy’s relationship because we remain happy.