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Today I am going to talk to you about something new in our home – Daisy’s bedtime routine! For the first few months we went with the flow, mostly because Daisy would cry in agony for hours with reflux. However, now we have the milk for her cows milk protein allergy under control, and she is on the right medication for her reflux, we’ve been able to start Daisy’s bedtime routine.
We try to play it a little loose with a specific time but ultimately Daisy’s bedtime routine starts at around 7pm and ends with her asleep before 9pm. The time has gradually got earlier and earlier and the length of time we spend helping her go to sleep has got shorter also. We have been implementing this new bedtime routine for almost two weeks now and Daisy is sleeping for around 8 hours, sometimes 10-11 hours. This has felt pretty life changing to us, because we’ve had next to no sleep for months now! Daisy was not sleeping sometimes until 3-4am but I feel that the majority of this change is just down to her maturing, learning more and her being ready, rather than it being some ground breaking parenting or amazing trick that we’ve stumbled on.
First of all we start with a nice bath for Daisy. At the moment we are using the kitchen sink. This is the perfect size for Daisy and best of all it means that we don’t need to be folded over our low bathtub for 10-15 minutes every day. We did receive a *bath support, as a gift, however, we didn’t use this beyond the first few weeks when Daisy had her floppy neck still.
After Daisy is clean and fresh I give her a nice massage. I watched a few YouTube videos to help with this but ultimately I just massage a *nice lotion into her and gently sing and speak softly to her. Daisy is loving this more and more and she seems to anticipate the massage now and starts to kick her legs and get very excited.
Once we have completed the bath and the massage then Daisy has a book read to her. *Who’s Hungry and *Tuck Me In! are particular favourites at the moment but I’m sure at this age you could read a dictionary and if your baby is interested they will be interested! Daisy loves looking at colourful images, like a lot of babies, and black and white images are great for babies at this age, apparently. These two books have brilliant panels that you can flip back and forth to tuck the characters in or feed them food! These are very cute and it’s a nice change from the previous books we were reading her.
Daisy then has a nice cuddle, while enjoying her last bottle. Because Daisy has cows milk protein allergy she is on *Neocate milk, which we get on prescription. The final bottle of the day we use one scoop of *Carobel, per 5 ounces of milk, and this has definitely helped her sleep for longer. Because Daisy’s prescription milk is very thin the *Carobel helps to thicken the milk and therefore fill her stomach for a little longer too. We don’t get the *Carobel on prescription, as we use so little, however, if you have a baby who is sick regularly or needs thicker milk then your GP can prescribe this for you. I just buy mine from Amazon every few weeks for under £6.
Daisy used to cry, for several hours. I would rock her, for several hours. All the while feeling a little desperate and worrying that my baby was never going to be well. Like a lot of babies with reflux it was just a case of dealing with her allergies. Then finding medication that works for her. Over time I learned that it wasn’t my fault Daisy was like this. All I can do is comfort her and try and make life easier for her by staying calm & being extra patient. We have been using a *Babymoov Cozydream to help her drift off to sleep.
Usually we lay in bed with her. Once she is quite tired, and almost asleep, we move her to her cot. We then turn on her *light projection mobile and Daisy now, after almost two weeks, turns towards the wall, usually holding her *blanket or a *muslin and then starts to drift off to sleep. Sometimes Daisy will have a little grizzle, during which time one of us will return to the cot. We pat her chest, talk softly to her and reassure her that she is not alone. Then we will say goodnight and leave the room again. We return any time that Daisy is grizzling or crying. Obviously we want to comfort her. However we don’t lift her out of the cot.
Just as a side note we previously used to swaddle Daisy. This did help her sleep. For 4-6 hours at a time. However, I don’t want to swaddle her for a long time as it can be bad for hip development.
If you are a skim reader then here is the bedtime routine:
Bath, massage, book, cuddle, bottle, winding, bed. Traditional but it works for us (so far)!
Daisy cried a lot the first night. We spent about 30-45 minutes returning to her cot and reassuring her. Now Daisy usually just needs one reassurance, if at all. She will fall asleep by herself, without crying. This is fantastic and it is really amazing how well she has come along since we started our bedtime routine.
Update – After one month Daisy could self soothe completely. Daisy no longer cries when she goes to bed. She is happy to settle down with a milk and go off to sleep.
It worked best for us not to try this for the first few months of Daisy’s life. We preferred to go on her schedule. We allowed her to feed, sleep and need us when she needed us. Now we are putting her into her cot for a nap. Also for the night and she is sleeping fantastic. My husband and I are starting to feel like humans again. Now I even have some time free in the evening to get a few blog posts wrote!
If you have a little one who is struggling to get into a routine then I would advise you wait. Just give it a few more weeks before you try again. Most babies will start to naturally get themselves into a routine. At some point. If yours doesn’t it doesn’t mean you are failing or doing anything wrong! When your little one isn’t sleeping well, and you are suffering sleep deprivation, it can be easy to blame yourself. All you can do is be there for your child and do your best. It can be a struggle. You’ll know when your child is ready to start a new bedtime routine. Consistency is key and allows your little one to learn what is coming next. This gets them ready for the idea that they are going to sleep soon.
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