When Avery was 6 weeks old I was asked what our bedtime routine was. At that time, we were still nursing on demand and Avery would pass out during every nursing session. There was no bedtime routine or even a schedule yet. What did other parents do? When I asked I would get mixed answers: baths, books, tummy time, snuggles, feeding and putting down awake. Great – but what was YOUR schedule or routine? I did searches in the web and only found a few somewhat useful information. What I wanted was to see different schedules and bedtime routines in detail. I couldn’t find that so hopefully this post will be of use to you. Because Avery’s schedules and routines changed throughout his development, I’m listing it by his age up to 6months.
No schedule, somewhat a routine. Avery’s circadian clock was still a mess so we nursed on demand and kept him up no longer than 60 minutes after he woke up. The trick is to nurse and change him upon his awakening, then do some tummy time and then return to his darkened room after 45minutes. That was his “schedule”. At this stage babies can’t stay up for more than 60 minutes, their bodies are still in sleepy mode. We would read or I’d sing to him while rocking him to sleep. If I lay him down awake he would cry and I was just not ready for any cry it out method. You can’t spoil a baby in the first 3 months after birth. They don’t know that they are outside the womb so every comfort is best – in my opinion. At 8 weeks we transitioned Avery out of the Swaddle into the Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit and into his crib.
3 and 4 months old:
Avery would go to bed at 7pm. He woke up a once to nurse and would sleep until about 7am.
7am: wake up, nurse, change diaper, move to living room, play, tummy time.
7.45am – first nap: back in dark room, read book, put on magic sleepsuit, put in crib awake by 8am. He would sleep for 1-2 hours.
10am: wake up, nurse, wipe body with warm washcloth, get dressed for the day, move to living room, play, listen to music, tummy time or even go out for a walk. Return to dark room after 45-60min.
11am – second nap: same routine as with first nap above, but adding a nursing session. He would sleep for 1-2 hours.
1pm: wake up, nurse, run errands with Mommy. I tried to get everything done before he fell asleep in the stroller or car because I noticed he napped much better and longer in his room. Return to dark room after 60-75min.
2.15pm – third nap: same routine as first and second naps above. Avery would again nap for about 1-2 hours.
4pm: wake up, nurse, diaper change, playtime in living room, tummy time. Move to bedroom for bedtime routine after an hour.
5pm – bedtime routine: bath time*, nurse, snuggle, read a book together, dim lights and sing a song while slowly moving him to his crib. Turn out all lights and whisper good night while I leave the room.
*Our bath time routine: We usually fill the tub with warm water and play a lullaby version of Red Hot Chili Peppers by Twinkle Twinkle Little Rockstars (they have a bunch of other versions too). Avery knows when this music plays that we are getting ready to end the day. While listening to the music, I wipe him down with a wash cloth, sometimes even giving him one to play with. Then it’s into the towel to dry up, lotion, diaper, Pajamas. The whole process is max. 15 minutes long.
5 and 6 months old:
His schedule and routine did not change much and is same as above with the following minor changes:
I was aiming to get Avery to sleep at 5.30pm so I started slowly moving his bedtime earlier by 10-15 minutes ever other day until we’ve reached 5.30pm. Because Avery was starting to cut his first two bottom teeth he started waking up more often at night.
4-5 am: he would wake up and seem wide awake. For a while (almost a month!) I would get up and hang out with him for an hour – what an error (causing sleep deprivation on my end). I corrected this by nursing him in the dark at this time in the morning and putting him right back into his crib. Eventually he learned to just go back to sleep.
He would then wake up at 7am and we started the day.
One thing we did was transitioning Avery out of the Merlin Sleepsuit into a Sleeping Bag closer to 5 months when Avery’s startle reflex was gone.
With his bedtime now being at 5.30pm, we started the bedtime routine between 4.30-4.45pm.
Avery did very well falling asleep on his own. We are very lucky parents that he doesn’t cry much and soothes himself rather quickly. During the teething period he woke up crying a bit more often but we figured it out and eventually went right back to our previous schedule. More info on the teething period here.
It took me a while to find a schedule that worked for us as we are quite baby-led. The bed and nap time routines however always stayed the same and still work for us.
Thanks for reading 🙂 Feel free to ask questions or give me some tips in the comments below.