Y’all, bedtime can be stressful with little children. You’re tired. Your baby is tired. It’s just not a fun time.
Note I said it can be stressful. But, it doesn’t have to be!
For the first 2 1/2 years of my daughter’s life, she shared a room with me and my husband. Not because we are co-sleepers but because we couldn’t afford a bigger home at the time. She did however have her very own crib in our bedroom.
What was our secret?
We started our bedtime routine when Heidi was very young, around 2-3 months old. In our house, 8 p.m. is bedtime on school nights, even for the baby. When our three big kids would go to bed, I would put Heidi to bed too. Every night she would get a bath and a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode. Wait, don’t all the experts warn against bedtime television? Oops! But, this is what worked for us. After her bath, she knew she got one Mickey episode, her milk, and then it was lights out. Whatever you choose, whatever works for you – make it a routine.
Cry It Out…Just A Little
Am I talking about you or the baby? There are some of y’all who are doggedly against the Cry It Out method (aka CIO). There are also some of our readers who have done CIO with their littles at a reasonable age and it’s what worked for them. I’m going to let you in on a secret. What works for you and your baby might not work for someone else and their baby.
Every child and every person in this world has a different personality. Mama’s learn their baby’s cries within the first few weeks of birth. There is the hunger cry, the I’m tired cry, I’m bored cry, the gas cry (this one is my least favorite), and of course the I need my mama (or daddy) cry!
When I would hear the I need my mama (or daddy) cry I would rush back into the room to her. I would pick her up, make sure she was dry, give her hugs and kisses, sing her a song, snuggle her, lay her down, and walk out and close the door. If she started the mama cry again I would go back in reassure her it was bedtime, love on her, and walk out again. If you are consistent, it will work!
Looking back I wish I would have invested in a video baby monitor. I didn’t feel like I needed one at the time because my house was small. Instead, I would sometimes sit on the floor outside of my bedroom with my ear up to the door to hear what she was doing in there. It would have been nice to see her or even have one of those baby movement and breathing monitors. It would have given me peace of mind.
All of these suggestions are what worked for me and my daughter. That doesn’t mean that it will work for my next child or your child. Establishing a bedtime routine takes time and patience. Our babies are only babies once. One day they won’t need us to console them at night be patient and establish a routine that works for you!