Good morning and happy Monday!! Feels good to be back at it today, partnering up with The Ollie Swaddle to share some of our tips for establishing a nighttime routine! It is important to note before I begin that every baby is different and what works for us may not work for you or your baby.
When we had E, our pediatrician shared a wise piece of advice with us that we have taken to heart on all things baby. When establishing a routine of any kind, whether it be for sleep, eating, leaving the house, etc…it is important to stay consistent and only do what you know to be sustainable over a long period of time. If reading 4,675 books or rocking them to sleep in your arms before bed is not something you are willing to sustain over a long period of time, don’t make it a part of the routine. Whatever routine you establish: pacifiers, bottles, etc…to break it is going to take far more work than to establish it. That being said, it can be difficult to keep this in mind when it is the only thing that seems to work and UGH JUST GO TO SLEEP. On that note: When E got really sick for what seemed like months back when she was 12 months old, we let her have the pacifier whenever she wanted because it was the only thing that made her feel better so we undid the ‘just when sleeping’ routine that we had worked so hard on–SO if anyone has tips for nixing the pacifier…send them our way (UGH).
The following is the sleep routine that we started with E and C as soon as we got the go ahead from the pediatrician to let them sleep until she wakes up on her own versus waking to eat every 2-3 hours (i.e. back to birth weight). That being said, you can do any of these things from the start, but just check with your pediatrician about letting them sleep versus waking to eat.
1. Swaddling: A Velcro Swaddle is key. We made it a point to only swaddle at night even when it felt tempting during the day. The Ollie Swaddle is thin, but tight so you don’t have to worry about them breaking out or overheating. The bottom is also accessible so you can do a diaper change without unswaddling. We are so excited to use this with C as we had a hard time finding one that kept E in and that also wasn’t too small. This one is big enough to really last as long as you want it to (just be sure to swaddle with arms out once they can roll over!)
2. Complete darkness at night. Ok, this one is really tough because it means no turning on lights or TV when you get up for those feeds or diaper changes. The darkness helps to establish that it is night which is especially important at the beginning when they are trying to sort their days from their nights. I have a hard time staying awake especially in the beginning when the feeds can take almost an hour so I have to do a little phone so I turn the brightness way down and avoid it being near baby’s eyes. I have also heard to leave blinds open/lights on for nap so they understand the difference, but I let the sitter establish this because she was with her 5 days a week at nap time.
3. A White Noise Machine We started this pretty much right away and E still uses hers. Ocean is her jam. We will do the same sound with Claire and hope it works because it’ll be easier if they have to sleep in the same room when we travel.
4. Nursery Heater This was way important with E because she was born in the dead of winter and I was petrified she was going to freeze, but actually it’s been great for both kiddos because it regulates the temperature of the crib to whatever degree you set it. So, if the crib gets too hot, it will blow cooler air as well. So it’s on every night, year round and E is used to a very specific 72 degrees.
5. Lay them down awake. I’ll admit there have been plenty of times where we broke this rule (looking at you, teething), but generally this was a practice that has lead to fairly stress-free bedtime.
6. Pacifier We chose to use a pacifier as a means of getting her to soothe herself to sleep. Since we put her down awake and was swaddled, she didn’t have access to her hands, so she used a pacifier. It meant getting up a few times a night to put it back in, but for us, that was a sustainable part of the routine versus her self soothing with her hands which we would have a hard time getting her to stop doing (and swaddling with hands in meant she slept in longer stretches). We were sticklers that the pacifier only be used at night (she would pick out the binks she wanted out of her bink box and knew to put them back in the box when she woke up) and we were doing so well until she got a GI bug (TWICE), four molars at once, and then a double ear infection and double pink eye at the same time–all within about a two month window. We threw our rule out the window and I know we made the right call at the time, but we were back to the pediatrician’s ‘I told you so’ and at 18 months we are having a hard time undoing the new ‘routine’ of not giving it up right away or needing it when she gets upset. But, this aside, she still looks forward to playing with all of her pacifiers in bed and will sleep 12-13 hours without waking at night.
So those are the basics of what we do every night with the girls. We really don’t do much more than that. Each age bracket has its’ own unique add ons like now we brush E’s teeth and she cuddles up in her Big Girl Bed and we read one or two books.
What does your nighttime routine look like for you and your little ones? Do you swaddle? Use a pacifier? I love hearing what others do!
To snag a 10% off coupon code for The Ollie Swaddle, follow this link!
Have a great day!
*This post was sponsored by The Ollie World, but all opinions, as always, are my own!