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We've got A LOT of Sandra Boynton. They're not all winners, but there are a lot more hits than misses. The Going to Bed Book and One, Two, Three! are favorites around here. Kiddo is also 18 months.
We would usually break a day down as such when she was 3/4 months (wikka wikka waaa....get it? break it down?.....the sleep regression hit me hard.)
play on mat for about 40 min so I could pump. Don't bother to change out of PJs but do take off owlet and sleep sack.
(Her awake window at 3/4 months was about an hour and a half, but in the morning I found it best to put her down within an hour. )
6:40AM offer boob. Then change diaper and do quick stretches as the music and physical movement signals nap is upon us. Then put on owlet and back into sleep sack, then we head on over to her crib/ bassinet (I had my husband build the crib in our bedroom halfway through 4 months because she is a LONG baby and grew out of the Halo). we turn on the night light and owlet, then read The Going to Bed Book EVERY time - again same sounds lets her know it is nap time - then i have a short song I hum while rocking her into the crib (like 20 - 30 seconds) where lights go out and turn on the sound machine at the end.... I'm out. Takes all of 10 minutes from start to finish if she doesn't want to eat.
(we do this still at 6 months. same routine - works like a bloody charm. No matter where I am if I do it she will nap with no tears 9/10 times.)
The key is to start the nap routine and put baby down BEFORE their unique wake window is closed. An overtired baby will not go down on their own, or without a fight.
8:30AM wake and boob. Time to change diaper and put on some real clothes! Then we do our SparkBabies activities for the day.
9:30AM Offer boob - then nap routine commences. Diaper change, clothing change back to PJs, stretches - move over to crib, turn on Owlet and night light, read same book and hum a little tune sound machine on and out goes the lights by 9:50 so they have time to fuss it out a bit or just chill to sleep by 10AM.
11:00AM Boob and change back out of PJs.
12:00 NOON Offer boob - you know the drill now. Out by 12:20
1:30 PM Wake up and boob it - change and go play!
2:30 PM Offer boob - nap it out by 2:50 PM!
4:00 PM Wake up wake up it's time to boob, chhhhhhhaaange...and play!
4:30 PM Cluster feeding begins...offer boob.
5:00 PM Offer boob and nap it out by 5:30 PM.
6:00 PM Awake and change, time to boob it out and play! Offer boob whenever fussy from here on out!
7:00 PM Bedtime routine starts.
I set everything up beforehand - but we begin with a bath with some nice lullaby music (instrument only) with minimal play - this is soothing, but fun times. Then I bring her back to her change table where we dry off, get some lotion on, put on her owlet and onesie/sleep sack. You want dim lighting for everywhere but the bath. Then I go to the bed (her crib/bassinet was beside me) where it is DARK except for a very dim night light and nurse her while quietly reading Harry Potter. I nurse her last personally so she gets a full feed, but the trick is I am so terrible at transferring her to her crib/ bassinet I always wake her up. You want to MAKE SURE baby is not totally asleep before putting them to bed. Hold them in seated position 5 minutes after finishing boob and gently rocking them back and forth (like....as if you were rocking in a seated position) is a good way to gently rouse them a but, as well as get gas out. Then put them down drowsy but awake, turn on sound machine and peace.
It takes time....each nap and bedtime give it 5 minutes before going back in, or do 10 or 15 if you feel like that works better for you. The first night she fussed/cried for 9 minutes. Now she goes out on her own in 3 minutes or less, and puts herself back to sleep when she wakes (unless really hungry, we're not night weaning). We're down to 3 naps a day at 6 months, I know when she sleeps and so does she - it took a long time to get here but you can. It's totally possible!
Charlie Parker Played Bebop.
The Going to Bed Book.
Thank you Easter Bunny! Also thanks for the contest!