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Baby Steps for Bedtime Routines

Again, this week I thought I'd share one of my own experiences as a parent.

With newborns it can be really difficult to get into a bedtime routine which works for both you, and the baby. Most parents (myself included) bathe their newborn at around 7pm and then pop them down with a feed at around 10pm-10.30pm.

Now whilst this often works quite well for your baby, it's not necessarily the best for you as a parent. Of course our newborns are the centre of our worlds, but still, it would be nice to reclaim a little of your evening back right? Sit down and have a proper conversation with your partner, or maybe read a book or magazine, have a bath - oh the possibilities!

Well, my cousin felt so too. She decided to try a little experiment to see if she could get her newborn down earlier, and get back a couple of hours in the evening. Now she didn't want to leap straight in to a dramatic change in routine; instead she figured that it may be better to try to change her baby's bedtime routine a little at a time - baby steps if you will.

Therefore, she began by bathing her baby at 10pm and popping her to bed at around 10.30pm. Then, each week she brought baby's bedtime forward just a little bit - around half an hour or so. As the weeks progressed she managed to get to the point where her baby was going to sleep around 7pm, thereby leaving her with some much needed downtime with her partner.

Now as someone who reads anything and everything baby and child related that I can get my hands on I was intrigued by this idea. I'd certainly never read it anywhere, but buoyed by her success I decided to give it a go with my 12 week old.

Guess what? SUCCESS!

It really did work. I think the key is that because you're changing the routine very gradually over a period of weeks there's less trauma - for all involved. I'd guess that the baby probably isn't even aware of the routine changing per se.

I have to say that I also feel much better as a result. I feel that just by having a little bit more time for me, time to chat to my husband and so on really helps me cope better day to day with caring for my little ones. I think that the truth is that if you feel a little more rested, a little more relaxed etc, parenting becomes easier. I'm sure that my children pick up on it too - a happy, more relaxed Mummy is definitely nicer to be around!

So dear readers, over to you. Have you tried something like this? Did it work for you? Do you have any tips for baby bedtime routines that you'd like to share? I'd love to hear them!

Oh, I do hope you've had a very happy Christmas and will have a wonderful New Year!

Image credit toadstool ring

Leave a comment

    From Lucy Quick
    Hi Mummy Zen,

    Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting - glad to hear it worked well for you too :)
    From Mummy Zen
    This is great advice! I too remember the difficulty with the 10.30-11pm bedtime and would speak to other mums who put their babies to bed at 7pm. We did a gradual switch in routine when my son was around 3 months old and were relieved when it seemed to suit him to go to bed at 7pm. Like you, it made such a difference for my husband and I to have a bit of time to ourselves in an evening.
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