Do you remember that post I did back in June “5 things I do with my baby every day”? Well, if you fancy reading it, it’s <here>. I remember uttering the words “I think if one more person tells me to get Arthur into a routine I will punch them. Every time I try, a development leap comes along and it all goes out the window, so yeah this is not a routine post.”
So this post came as much as a surprise to me as it probably does for you. However, not long after we got back from our holiday, so probably around the end of June beginning of July, Jack had to go back to working abroad. Specifically, in Amsterdam, which was a fun adventure for Arthur and I. You can check out what we got up to on my Instagram highlights.
Jack was away for around 5 weeks (coming home weekends for around 3 of those weeks) and Arthur was now 4 months old. A more active, aware four-month-old. He would require my attention that little bit more. It seemed to be always around 4:30/5pm that he started to want me that little bit more and if I left the room for even a second he would start to grizzle.
We hadn’t found our routine by this point but had started to have a little bit more structure to our day. Deciding to ween Arthur at 4 months was the best decision for us though I must say it’s not been smooth sailing. I will be doing a weening journey blog post soon.
How I found the routine that worked for us.
So it was around the time Jack was away (second time around since AJ being born) that I thought to myself. For my own sanity and for Arthurs wellbeing it’s best we try and figure out some type of… dare I say it… evening/bedtime routine.
I was finding myself being exhausted by the time Arthur was in bed and struggling to do anything the next day due to being burnt out. I had ZERO time to myself. Arthur was beginning to become quite grouchy in the evenings. I took his lead. He started to fall asleep around 9 pm, this was too late for me still. More often than not I would of have a piece of toast for dinner or nothing.
A lot of people had said that bath time was a good way to calm down your baby and get them ready for bed. Obviously, this could be different for each baby, you may find this just excites them further or you get home late from work so you’d prefer to do it a different way. I know a few parents that have dinner, play for an hour, say to their baby/child “bedtime now” and they take themselves off and the parent reads a story and then they’re asleep.
It is whatever works for you
Arthur is like me, baths are a safe haven for relaxation. Of course, he is still a young baby so does a splash and play but he is fairly chilled out when in the bath.
When I was getting him into the routine, I slowly started to introduce a bath before I gave him the last feed. My routine initially went like this:
7/7: 30 pm bath time
7:30 pm wind down/ feed
usually asleep by 8 pm
He would initially keep stirring for about half hour/ an hour before finally falling into a deeper sleep by 9 pm. When he stirred/cried out I would go to see him, maybe pat his bum, pick him up and rock him or simply just put my hand on his back gently to let him know I was still around.
This took about a week for him to fall asleep and stay asleep at 8 pm. In no way was that week easy. I’d usually be heating up my dinner three times due to it going cold or just simply not bothering and having a late lunch.
8 pm still wasn’t leaving me a lot of time to wind down. I wasn’t able to get things done so I started the process again. Setting his bedtime back to 7 pm. I wasn’t just doing this for me of course. I found that Arthur was getting really tired and becoming more and more irritable by that time.
Our routine now loosely goes like this.
4:30/5pm Arthur has dinner
5/5:30 – 6:30/7 pm Arthur plays
6:30/7 pm we start to have bath time
7/7:30 pm bottle and down for bed
At 6 months we decided to introduce one bottle/formula feed and thinking it would help him sleep a bit more we decided to give it to him at bedtime. It didn’t make a difference but it did mean that Jack got to be more involved and that was a great thing for us all.
*Disclaimer* This is not a fix for sleeping through the night. Arthur still doesn’t sleep through and quite often wakes up in the night… a fair few times, especially at the moment. However, we have found that this routine gives us structure to our day and helps Arthur settle for bed.
It’s good to remember that we are all muddling along in this fuzzy journey called parenting. Finding our own way and what works best for our families.