Ok, so prior to becoming a mom I swore I would never let my baby sleep in my bed. But like most things, once you have the baby, you tend to go back on your word and do what works best for your family.
It all started off as plan, I had RJ and he slept in his bassinet nightly. I woke up throughout the night, changed his diaper, breastfed him and put him back in his bassinet on the side of my bed. All was good until he turned 4 months and his sleep regression took over our home. Suddenly, I was up every hour, feeding and rocking him. I was constantly tired and cranky getting the worse sleep ever. I remember the day I caved, RJ woke me up literally every hour and I no longer took take it, so I placed him in our bed and we both slept---beautifully. Honestly, at first it was great but then my sweet baby boy became so demanding. He would literally roll over, wine and then slap my breast like a drunk trying to get the bartenders attention. I would comply and he would drink until he fell back to sleep. This was the routine 3,4,5 times a night. Now this convenient method of sleeping was becoming a nuanced.
At RJ's 6 month appointment, I asked his doctor if he needed to eat that many times a night and she informed me that based on his stats ( he's in the 85 percentile in weight, 98 percentile in height--- a big boy, I know) he did not need nutrition during the night and should be ready to sleep through the night. She also informed me that it would be perfectly fine to move him to his own room. I found myself but excited and anxious of this milestone, but I knew it was time.
That night, I took advantage of his sleepiness due to the immunizations he received during the appointment. I started the nightly routine I share below that night and have been using it ever since.
RJ's Nightly Routine
5:00 PM---- Dinner Time
I usually feed him something heavier for this meal so that he goes to bed on a full belly. We are using the BLW approach and so he typically eats a modified version of whatever we eat for dinner, such as soft pasta and red sauce.
6:00 PM---- Bath Time
I warm RJ a warm bath and we jam out to some of moms favorite hits ( Alexa, play the Lemonade album by Beyonce). After, I give him a body massage using Johnson's Bedtime lotion and get him dressed for bed.
7:00 PM----Family Time
We typically go on a family walk around the neighborhood. The fresh air really settles RJ and he falls right asleep in either the stroller or the Ergo Baby carrier. If it's raining outside, too hot or too dark we will spend time in his room playing with toys, doing tummy time or reading a book.
7:30- Set the Vibes
I set the vibes at this time. I turn on his Hatch sound machine. I like to set the sound to the TV white noise at 20%. I love the Hatch Sound machine because its bluetooth so I can control the sound and light from anywhere in the house. I will also give him his last bottle of the day or breastfeed for a few minutes. I also use baby friendly essential oils such as Young Living Kidscents Sleepyize to help relax RJ. The last thing I do to set the vibes is put on his sleep suit, right now we're loving the Nested Bean sleep sack. By this time he is starting to drift in and out of sleep. I love this sleep suit because its weighted and gives the allusion that he is sleeping with me.
7:45-8PM Night Time
I place him down in his crib, eyes somewhat open, turn on the camera and walk out. He has been sleeping through the night and usually wakes up around 6 am.
Cry It Out Method
Now, if he starts to cry I don't rush in automatically, even if its in the middle of the night. Instead, I start the stopwatch on my phone to track how long he's actually been crying. I do this to ease my emotions, often times it feels like he's been crying for 45 minutes but then I will look at my stopwatch and note that its only been 2 minutes. This has allowed me to give him time to self sooth.
Overall, I must say RJ has been loving his own space, as do mom and dad. As a family we get better sleep, and you know what they say "happy baby, happy mom". Thats a saying right?