I have to say, ever since O was born he’s been a pretty good sleeper but I do think that the environment and routine we have implemented is really helpful.
To be honest, before I had him, we had envisioned him sleeping peacefully beside our bed in his crib until 6 months, then move him into his own room -I have to laugh at the thought of it. I know some people where this works for their family and that is great! Every family works differently, however, for us, this just wasn’t how it worked best.
First off, O had amniotic fluid still in his lungs after birth (a normal situation) which caused him to kind of choke, cough a lot. Of course, this is scary, and being first time parents, we were terrified. So, my husband and I took turns sleeping while the other held him while he slept to make sure everything was okay (this may be extreme to some of you but it gave us peace of mind).
So after the first week or so, he was used to, and we were used to, him sleeping around us. I was also exclusively breastfeeding him, so it was extremely unpractical for me to have him sleeping in his crib, have to take him out, feed him and try to put him back afterwards since he’d always fall asleep while he ate. So, I would have him sleep next to me, when he would get hungry, I heard him routing and would feed him laying down, after he would fall asleep I would then too. My husband was able to sleep through this all (thank goodness because he had to go to work the next day), my son wasn’t put through any discomfort and I was able to easily fall back to sleep. It was (and has been) wonderful.
I know a lot of people are not keen on co-sleeping, but to be honest, there are so many advantages to it. You can read more about it here.
But back to the beginning of our routine. We initially started with a routine at about 6 weeks when we were able to start bathing him. We have since changed his bedtime, but the routine always stays the same regardless of the time. This has also helped us with traveling in different time zones.
So we start with some calming activity, usually reading a book, going for a walk or gently playing with a toy. Afterwards I bathe him. After the bath I blow dry his hair, massage his body with coconut oil, and put on his pjs.
From there we go into the bedroom (everything is dark to avoid stimulation after the bath) and I breastfeed him in the dark while laying down, generally he falls asleep, however if he doesn’t I simply pick him up and hum a song while holding him and he falls asleep. It is a very simple process and he never cries or fusses and I am at peace because I know he’s gone to bed happy (there’s something about him going to bed crying that disturbs me).
For napping we also have a (somewhat simpler) routine. We close the blinds turn on some running water white noise and gently rock him to sleep. It takes about 5 minutes, sometimes 10 and he’s generally easy to put down. His naps are usually 30 minutes in length and he has one nap a day for 1.5 hours in the morning. I was interested in starting a routine, but to be honest it never worked for us and I was more stressed out than anything.
Now he’s such a happy baby and has made his own routine more or less.
What’s worked for your family’s sleeping arrangement?
Thanks for reading!