Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Bedtime routine.

I just looked through pictures of Norah's almost three months of life so far. Sometimes I look back or look at her and still can't believe that she is here and that she is ours! It sort of feels like she just got here and that time is flying, but it also feels like she has been here forever because I can't believe I ever lived without her!

When Norah was first born, I spent way too much time reading online about different baby aspects- scheduling, feeding, etc. I still do sometimes, but have calmed down a lot, thankfully. It wasn't good, because it just made me feel uncertain and worried. I compared myself and Norah to other people and it made me wonder if we were doing things right.

That's silly, because there is no one way to parent that's the "right way." Every parent is different and every child is different. Yes, there are things that are good for every baby or suggested for every baby, but you have to learn what works for you and how to tweak it to fit your family.

All that to say, it feels a little weird to type my own baby advice now, but I want do to it to document Norah's life/what worked for us, and hopefully it helps somebody. For Norah's first month, she did not sleep well at all. It took a long time to get her to sleep- usually she didn't fall asleep until around 2am. She mainly didn't want to sleep alone; even if we would lay her down in a deep sleep, she would wake up. I will never forget those first weeks of taking shifts together- Kley staying up with her from 10-12, and me from 12-2.

Once we started doing a nightly routine before putting Norah to sleep, she started sleeping much better. Tons of people gave us advice when we talked about her not sleeping well, and they were all well-intentioned and I appreciate that, but you just have to take what works for you. For instance, Norah hated being swaddled. She has always slept with her arms up and likes to have them out. I don't know how many times people kept telling us to swaddle her, but it was a lot. We tried and tried and she never liked it, so we just stopped doing it!

Below is the nightly routine we do with Norah, and it has significantly helped her sleep better. She knows the routine now, and it helps her calm down and get ready for bed. We do the same thing each night, and try to do it at relatively the same time. (Norah goes to bed kind of late for a baby, but we are okay with that. We start the routine around 9:15ish and try to have her in bed around 10:15ish. We like doing it that way, because then if we have something at night it doesn't totally throw her off, and also because then Kley can see her more at night. She sleeps later in the morning, which is fine because I am so thankful to be able to stay home with her, so we can be flexible like that!)

Norah's Bedtime Routine
-Bath- She LOVES bath time and being in the water. (We only use soap a couple times a week, so her skin doesn't dry out.)
-Lotion- You'll have to experiment what works best for your baby. After trying a few kinds, we like Aveeno Baby Lotion best for Norah. It keeps her skin moisturized and less dry than with other brands.
-Feed- She usually nursess much longer during this feed than during the day, which we both enjoy! It's calming for her, and I like letting her feed for longer if she wants. I always let her nurse for as long as she wants, but she chooses to nurse longer at night. I know it won't last forever, so I'm trying to enjoy the nighttime cuddles as much as I can!
-Sing a song- We sing her "You Are My Sunshine" every night. My mom used to sing that to me when I was little.
-Check diaper to make sure we aren't putting her down wet.
-Lay her in her crib
-Turn on music- We have a lullaby song on this small sound machine toy she has that's timed that we play every night to signal sleep.

We are so glad that this has helped Norah sleep better, and we are appreciating more sleep also! I encourage you to try to develop a routine if you haven't yet- whatever works for you!


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