I think back to the days where a real bedtime didn’t exist and we were on the newborn 2-3 hour sleep stretches. When I would place her bath in random spots on random days. I think about the feelings of, “this will never end” and wondering if I would make it through to a time where bedtime was a real (and consistent) thing for us. There is hope! Because we made it through those sleepless nights and eventually found ourselves figuring out a good bedtime routine. I have been waiting to do something special and use it as a time for us to bond and for her to recognize the routine. I also wanted it to be a joint effort between Bobby and I because he’s gone all day at work and it’s one of his only chances to spend time with her. And he seriously loves it! My heart always melts to mush when I see them bonding, especially during our bedtime routine!
Here is a step-by-step of what that looks like for us and how we tag team it so she experiences it with both of us.
Step 1 – Preparing the bath
Usually around 7-7:30pm, I start her bath. She no longer uses a baby tub of any kind, however, we do still use the removable shower/spa water jet unit that came with her Summer Infant tub. I just fill the water in our tub no more than about 1.5 to 2 inches and then fill the unit and it makes a little whirlpool for her. She’s always loved it! I use two small wash cloths and the Johnson’s bedtime lavender bubble bath (1 cap full poured into the water while filling the tub) as well as the bedtime lavender body wash. I haven’t tried any other body washes or shampoos just because these have worked well for her since we first started her baths. I place her hooded towel on the floor bath mat because it’s the easiest way for me to wrap her up afterwards. I have her shampoo and body wash in small travel size squeezable containers because I have always struggled with the giant ones feeling like I’ll drop them on her when applying.
Step 2 – “Nuggets in the house”
While I’m getting her bath ready, Bobby is undressing her and preparing her for probably her favorite part of it all! Nuggets in the house! Usually he is done undressing her by the time I have her bath ready. For those that don’t know, we currently live with my parents in order to save up for a new house, so they are a huge part of this step in our routine! Bobby brings her out into the living room and everyone pretty much dances and sings “Nuggets in the house!” and she kicks her legs and smiles the biggest smile ever! Sometimes she even squeals! Then Bobby does the airplane with her all the way into the bathroom as she kicks and smiles through the air. Every time she sees me as she enters the bathroom during her airplane ride, she squeals! It’s seriously the best thing ever!
Step 3 – The Bath
She’s still trying to learn how to sit in the bath, so I bathe her and wash her hair while she’s on her back with my hand placed under her head. I also hold my forearm under her chest when she flips to her stomach to get her back and booty washed. I don’t have her sit up until the end to let her practice sitting up and get about 2-3 minutes of splash time. (Note: Maci is currently 8 months old as I’m writing this post.)
During her bath, Bobby is getting her bottle ready and setting up his little area by deciding which two books to read her and setting those along with her lovey and Mr. Moose on the nightstand.
Once she’s done, she gets yet another brief greeting in the living room with kisses and is usually pretending to be shy by smiling then placing her face into my chest. But we all know she isn’t shy!
Step 4 – The Lotion Massage
Once I get her diaper on with her Desitin (I use Desitin after every diaper change and haven’t ever had any rash experiences since then), we start our lotion massage. Right now, I use the Johnson’s baby lotion (pink bottle), and haven’t switched over to anything else yet because the bottle is so big and I don’t like to waste products that work just fine. So once it runs out, I might try the lavender bedtime one next.
I start with her legs and feet while her upper body is still wrapped in the towel. I spend at least 2-3 minutes gently massaging her legs and feet. She just loves this! Once I start on her belly, I start removing the towel from her head. I don’t put any lotion on her chest since I use a different product for that. Then I sit her up and massage her back and completely remove the towel and lay her back down. I dry her neck as much as possible and then apply some Aquaphor to it to avoid any rashes in her neck rolls. This has worked wonderfully and we no longer have any neck rashes.
Also, while I’m starting this whole process, Bobby is cleaning up the bathroom and getting her bottle ready.
Step 5 – Chest and Foot Rub
I started using the Wink Naturals Lavender Calming Puresleep Chest Rub for both her chest and her feet. The very first time I tried it out, she started falling asleep! It just seems to calm her down and really relax her. I don’t think I’ll ever stop using it!
Step 6 – Ear Cleaning
Once I get her night time onesie and booties on, I use a q-tip and some baby oil to clean her ears. As soon as she sees the bottle of baby oil, she smiles and excitedly sucks on her pacifier. I have the big bottle of baby oil, so I have a hole poked through the top of the little foil lid protector that it comes with and just turn it over and dab some onto both sides of a q-tip. She has loved this since she was probably about two months old. Now, I don’t put it all in her ear, I just wipe the outside and near her inner ear. I don’t place it actually in her ear. She always sits real still for me because I think it must feel good. I do this because I had several ear infections growing up due to built up ear wax, so I like to make sure I do this after every single bath in hopes that she won’t have the same problem and keep her ears as clean as possible.
Step 7 – Cool Gums
Another Wink Naturals product that I love is their Cool Gums! It’s a teething relief that uses a cooling sensation rather than numbing sensation and has no benzocaine or belladonna, it’s all natural! So I put it on her gums right before bed to help her relax and fall asleep without any teething issues. While I’m brushing her hair, Bobby has the cool gums ready to apply on my last brush stroke. He applies it since my hands are full of lotions.
Step 8 – Daddy Duty (Books, Bottle & Bed)
This is when I kiss her goodnight and Bobby takes over. He gives her a bottle while reading her up to two short books. He says she usually doesn’t make it through the second book and starts drifting off by then. When she is done with her bottle, he snuggles her and gives her Mr. Moose and her lovey. He gets her to a very sleepy state, but usually not fully asleep, when he places her in her crib. By this time, it’s usually about 8-8:30pm.
Her lovey and booties are from Kalin Marie Boutique. The only booties that stay on and are SO soft!
And that’s it!
It’s been amazing to see her recognize each step of our routine and know what comes next. I know this may evolve over time into a few new or different things, but it really is neat how a simple routine can be so effective in helping her get to sleep.