Bedtime routine changes
I think I am extremely lucky that when I write about difficulties I am having with Isobel, I get an influx of support. I have recently written about trouble settling Isobel to sleep and could not figure out how to make improvements. Our NCT course leader Lou dropped by at the weekend for a chat and some great advice. It helps she also works as a baby sleep consultant.
Instead of having dinner together at a late time of after 6pm, Isobel now eats around 5.30pm. Lou also recommend the routine from start to finish should not be more than 45 minutes. She suggested we should also start dimming the lights before that to trigger that we are going into wind down mode and help reduce her level of cortisol. We bought a dimmer lamp at the weekend for this purpose. The best advice was it is like a battle of who is the most stubborn, normally Isobel as I give in easily! But I have started a change and I am already seeing progress after only 2 days.
We normally would bath Isobel around 6.30pm, change her, give her a bottle (music box on for soothing) and try and settle her into a half sleep before putting her in the cot. The trouble with this was everything was a constant battle from the minute she was out of the bath. Kicking and screaming would ensue and it was difficult even trying to get a nappy on her.
Our new approach dimmed lights at 5.45pm, bottle at 6.15pm in the dimmed room, bath, change, story/song, music box with timed low light on and settle in my arms. She ended up falling asleep in my arms but in a lovely relaxed way, rather than crashing out after a lot of tears. She did wake about 20 minutes later, stood up for a few minutes but then cuddled her teddy and went back to sleep. Previous to this we would spend an hour going back and forth to her room trying to settle her, and her screams would be heard 4 doors down the road.
Another great tip was not to pick her up when she stood up in cot but instead crouch down to her level, and slowly wait for her to meet you there. This was where the battle of wills came into place on the first night of our new routine. I spent about 30 minutes crouched on the floor before she started to lie down and settle. For a long time she was just laughing at me, but it beats the constant screaming any day of the week! We”ll see how this continues and I’l keep you posted on the progress. Thanks again to Lou and her good ear and a few words of wisdom!