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The questions every parent get asked several times during those first tricky days, months and years- What time do they go to bed? Are they sleeping through? What is your bedtime routine?
I have sat in classes at times thinking.. we don't have routine yet, he wakes constantly, he actually got into our bed tonight ...often made me feel inadequate and as I know most parents often feel.. like I was doing something wrong.
Now I can sit here feeling much more confident, we rode the waves, we listened to our child and I can confidently say we have 'our own' bedtime routine. Wether this is the 'right bedtime routine' is not important to me anymore. It works for us and most importantly it works for Jonah.
It wasn't always an easy journey and we still have bumps here and there.. one word-molars! However after a little research, bedtime blog reading and honest conversations with my fellow mummy friends bedtimes no longer fill us with dread.
This is something we certainly found incredibly difficult. Having read so much research about the importance of starting early we began once Jonah was home. We did everything they said and began to wind down at around 7pm. We headed upstairs to our bedroom where it was calm and quiet and thought we would rock him peacefully to sleep.
Bubbaroo have a useful '7 step bedtime routine' for some ideas on where to start
It was far from peaceful! Because the dreaded colic monster would join us at around 8pm every night for the next few hours. Poor Jonah would scream, we would despair and walk the floorboard of our bedroom, pacing up and down all evening getting more and more tense and feeling like bad parents.
In the end it was my mum, often always right, who suggested we stay downstairs instead during this colic phase and both stay relaxed. Jonah was too young to know otherwise and simply needed us to be calm and comfort him. I look back at this now as a pivotal moment. A real learning curve.
It was at this time that we realised, yes we wanted a bedtime routine and yes we knew in the long run it would benefit Jonah however throughout a babies life there would be setbacks due to baby troubles such as teething or the dreaded sleep regression.
A recent article in The Guardian 'Babies' sleep patterns can be challenging – here's why you shouldn't despair' offers a comforting insight and shoulder to cry on.
Jonah soon grew out of his colic and we continued to persevere with our bedtime routine.
Now we have a 20 month old who at 7pm will ask for a book and his bottle and clambers up the stairs to his cot.
What we have learned is that bedtime routine is brilliant! Of course it is!
However.. don't be downhearted if you they spend a few weeks out of routine, out of their cot and in your arms.
Emma Beardmore is the founder and owner of Just Jonah. Wife to Lewis and mother of Jonah, Emma's passion is all things kids, and she loves nothing more than family time.