In the last month or so, we have implemented a bedtime routine in the hopes that it would help the babies get through the dreaded 4-month sleep regression and other growing pains to come. Some days it helps, some days not so much, but we have found that we as parents really enjoy the bedtime routine. Now that we all understand what to expect, we have been able to be a bit more flexible with the time that we start/end bedtime, but actually having the routine set helps us immeasurably. This is the typical bedtime routine (again, times can change with this):
6:30 PM Babies’ Dinner (nursing session)
6:45 PM Changing diapers
6:50 PM Awake Activities (couch cuddle time, talking, play gym)
7:15 PM Mommy and Daddy Dinner Time (babies will be in the bouncer and MamaRoo while we eat)
7:45 PM Babies Get Fussy
7:55 PM Give In and Start Bath Time
- Dory starts bath water and gets the bath situated with combs, shampoo/body wash, toys, washcloths, and water temperature.
- Tim undresses Baby 1 (the fussier baby), puts coconut oil/Aquaphor on their heads (or any other dry or irritated patches).
- Dory picks up Baby 1 from the nursery (with diaper on), brings to bathroom, takes off diaper, and bathes baby.
- While Baby 1 bathes, Tim gets Baby 2 ready for bath time.
- Dory brings back Baby 1 and picks up Baby 2 for bath time.
- While Baby 2 bathes, Tim reapplies Aquaphor/coconut oil and dresses baby for bed.
- Dory brings back Baby 2 (for Tim to dress for bed) and gets situated in chair for feeding.
8:15 PM Top-Off Feeding
8:35 PM Once finished eating, babies are burped and put down to sleep. We turn off the lights, turn on the white noise, kiss the babies goodnight, and then leave and close the door.
Overall, we really love our bedtime routine. We are able to get them nice and full with the two clustered feedings, we get some good cuddle time in the evenings, AND we can eat our dinner before we put them to sleep. We have found that we would rather not eat after they go to sleep, because it is too late and we just want to sleep ourselves at that time.
The only thing we are missing is reading bedtime stories to them. Yes, we could read to them after the baths or the feeding, but after baths, they are fussy (they get hungry- not because of the baths) and after they nurse, they are close to falling asleep (and we need to leave the room before they are asleep or we will have a mutiny in the middle of the night).
With this schedule, we have found that sometimes they are really tired. If they drift off to sleep, we sometimes let them and sometimes try to keep them awake, depending on how they napped during the day (if they napped well, we try to keep them awake, if they didn’t nap well, we let them snooze for a bit).
So, veteran moms and dads: What is your bedtime routine? When do you fit in stories for your kids? Help!
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