Saturday, November 13, 2010

Our (current) cozy bedtime routine

Over the last few weeks, I've been trying to work out an enjoyable, practical bedtime routine for Patrick. I feel like having such a routine settles him down, soothes him as he becomes more and more tired, and is a special bonding time for us. When I first started this a few weeks ago, the routine started with bath time. Patrick loves being in the water, loves the silly songs I make up, and it was a good time for me to work on ridding him of his cradle cap. The horrible part, however, was when bath time would end. He would be fine when I took him out of the tub, fine with the towels wrapped around him, fine while I dried him off. It was when I would lay him down on the changing table for a new diaper that he would FREAK OUT. Mind you, our changing pad is lined with a nice, warm, soft, fuzzy changing pad cover. So, it wasn't as if it was cold or uncomfortable. He was no longer wet, and it's not extremely cold in our house so it wasn't as if he was freezing cold. But he would scream BLOODY MURDER!! All the way through the diaper change, through being dressed, almost to the point at which I thought he was going to make himself throw up. It would take considerable soothing from me before he'd calm down. At first I wondered if he was just cold, or just disliked the end of bath time. But then I realized it was simply my son being over tired and extremely fussy. A bath at bed time would either have to come a good bit earlier, so that he wasn't over tired, or would have to be removed from the daily bedtime routine. I opted for removing it from the daily bedtime routine to another part of the day. Over the last few days, we've really been enjoying our late afternoon and bedtime routine. I'm not sure how long it will last, but here's how it goes:
Usually around 4 pm, Patrick is up from his most recent nap and I'm looking for a way to get out of the house. Thus, it's time for our daily neighborhood walk! The last few days we've been walking for almost an hour. Some of the time, Patrick is awake, and some of the time he's enjoying a snooze.
Home by 5 or so, and mama needs a shower. So, he enjoys some play time in the bouncy seat while I shower and dress. Then, it's time for a diaper change for Patrick, along with jammies. At this point, he's usually rubbing his eyes or playing with his hair, two cues that he's getting sleepy. Jammies either consist of a one piece sleeper with feet, or a long sleeved onsie, covered by his sleep sack. But, between the clean diaper and jammies comes baby massage! I LOVE Johnson and Johnson's lavender scented lotion, and I make sure to put it on Patrick's legs and feet, (he especially laughs and giggles while I rub his feet!) his arms, shoulders and belly.
After jammies, it's time to read some books sitting in the glider together. Patrick is surprisingly good at being still and paying attention (as much as a 3 month old can!). We've been reading the same books for a while- Goodnight Gorilla, Mommy Hugs, I Love My Daddy Because, Where is Baby's Belly button?, and I Love You Through and Through. We always read I Love You Through and Through last, and it is my absolute favorite!
Then, if he's not too fussy or acting too tired, we list all the people who love him, (an idea I stole from Erin Lane. Her blog is Tales from a Marketing Mama- check the blogs I follow!), we say a prayer asking God to bless his family and friends, and ask Mama Mary to pray for us. Then it's time to nurse, and down to sleep.
Phew! Sounds like a lot, I know, but it has been such a sweet way to spend our evenings together. He's been getting to sleep by about 6:30 or so, and he'll sleep (waking up about every 4 hours on average- sometimes longer- to nurse) then he's up by 7. There are always variations on how the nights go, but right now this routine is working for us, and is a blessing to our evenings!

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