Bedtime routine

Nicole - posted on 12/30/2009 ( 8 moms have responded )

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So last night I tried to put my 4 month old son down at 8:30. He cried for an hour before I went up to get him. Is it too early to start a routine of getting him to bed early? He ususally doesn't go down until 12 or 1am. When I went up to him he looked at me like I had totally betrayed him, I couldn't believe the look in his eyes and I've never felt so guilty in my life! Is anyone else trying a bedtime yet?

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Emily - posted on 12/31/2009

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I think it's fine to shoot for a specific bedtime, but the thing is, babies can't tell time. They only know when they're tired. So I think it's better to just look for their cues of when they're naturally tired, shape your bedtime around that, and prepare to be flexible.

Personally I don't believe CIO is the best idea though.

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I had a routine with my first, but now with my 4th, I just nurse her and put her in her crib when she's tired. I never went the cry it out way. I think it's too cruel to do. I always go in as soon as my baby starts to fuss, I don't wait even a minute. With my daughter, I can usually get her calmed back down by giving her her paci. If that doesn't work, I pick her right up and soothe her. I have not had a problem with her needing to be held to sleep just because I don't let her cry. If fact, it's just the opposite. I think she can put herself to sleep because she knows that I will be there to help her if she needs me. My first son was the same way. My second son had an ear infection at 5 months, just as he was learning to put himself to sleep, that totally messed everything up. It took 5 more months after that for him to sleep on his own, and that was just with a bottle. There were still nights when I held him all night an slept in the chair in his room. I think that one day when he cried because of the ear infection set him back. He is still not as secure a person as his brothers and baby sister. But I work on that with him. My third son slept with me til he was 21 months old. I would just lay down in bed with him and nurse him til he slept.
So, yeah, no real routine. Just discovering what works for my child and helping any way I can with out letting them cry. And I always make sure that the lights are out or very low and the noise level is down about 30 minutes before bed. This way their bodies are already expecting to calm down. My kids are all in bed by 8 at the latest, even if they say they're not tired. You can put on a dvd or cd at the same time every night and turn it off at the same place every night right before putting your son to bed this way he knows what to expect. But start slow. If he sleeps at 12, start the routine at 11 and put him in bed at 11:30. It's best to do all this in his room too, instead of on the living room then taking him to his bed. If all this is going on in his room, he won't feel like he's missing anything by going to bed. Every 4 days or so, move your bed time routine up 30 minutes. Soon, he'll be going to sleep at 8:30, or when ever you want him to. Just remember, he may end up waking up earlier in the morning. But he'll sleep as long as his body needs to.

Krista - posted on 12/30/2009

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Yeah, it might have been too drastic a change for him. And I definitely wouldn't leave him to cry for an hour -- he probably got in such an anxious state that sleep would have been impossible. Babies need to know that their needs will be met. It's fine to let him fuss for 5 to 10 minutes if he's just having a bit of a fuss before settling. But leaving him cry for an hour is way too much, and winds up being counterproductive.

First of all, do you have a sleep routine for him? That's your first step, if you don't have one. Establish one. Mine is bath, then sleep sack, then bottle, then bed. There should be certain tasks that you ALWAYS do at bedtime, so that he'll learn to make the association between those tasks and sleepytime. Once you've got your sleep routine well-established, then just start doing the routine a bit earlier each week, until you have a bedtime of about 8:30 or so.

Angie - posted on 12/30/2009

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I don't think it's too early; you're baby just isn't used to it yet. I'd suggest setting up a routine and sticking to it, even if your baby resists at first. Once he gets used to it, then things will be easier. But take it slowly, ease him into it. If he's used to going to bed really late, then slowly make his bedtime earlier, but with the same routine every night. And you should go in and "soothe" him in increments instead of waiting for an hour to pass. Just go in, talk to him, give him his nuk, turn some music on, whatever and then leave. Wait 5 or so minutes and then do it again, increasing the increments each time you go back in. That worked w/ me anyway. But the most important thing is consistency. He'll learn if you repeatedly do things a certain way.

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Sarah - posted on 01/01/2010

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I pretty much got my boy into a routine when he came home from hospital. It was bath at 5pm, feed at 5.30pm bed at 6pm. Although at first obviously he was waking every 3 hours he's now 4 months old and sleeps from 6pm - 5-30-6am. Occasionally he will wake earlier and if he's on a growth spurt he may wake during the night for a feed but generally he goes 11-12 hours. My daughter was even better, sleeping from 6pm-8am. I think each baby is different but I do find that if he's eaten well late afternoon and not had a later sleep he's definately ready for bedtime. Also, having a bath before bed seems to make him really tired and drowsy.

Emily - posted on 12/31/2009

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Quoting Laurel:

I hear ya. Same story....I can't get my 4.5 month old baby girl to fall asleep before 1am...and then she doesn't wake up until noon. I've tried almost all of what all these people have to say....routine is easier said than done. Good luck to you!



I think this is so true. I'm convinced some babies are just night owls! And there's not much at this age you can do about that.

Laurel - posted on 12/31/2009

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I hear ya. Same story....I can't get my 4.5 month old baby girl to fall asleep before 1am...and then she doesn't wake up until noon. I've tried almost all of what all these people have to say....routine is easier said than done. Good luck to you!

Kristy - posted on 12/30/2009

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my 4 month old is in a good routine, she goes down around 6.00pm and sleeps till around 2.30am, has another feed then back to sleep, I was lucky as she would get sleepy and was ready for bed so it was easy to implement

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