It's amazing how satisfying it is to look over and see your handsome husband pull out all the silly stops in order to get your sweet baby to squeal and squawk and giggle his little heart out. Nobody can make Simon laugh like his dad can. Seeing Marcus look like the biggest fool, which somehow also makes him look like the most attractive man in the world is fatherhood in a nutshell, I guess :)
(and just as a little bit of encouragement for new moms, those first few months are so sweet, but also so so hard, but when your baby starts to laugh, oh-my-gosh--it's like fairies are bursting out of their mouths and your heart is popcorn producing rainbows and the rainbows start pouring out rain and turn you into a puddle on the floor, and the puddle seeps out into the lawn and the lawn springs forth daffodils--at least that's the general idea and feeling...)
Anyways, as a new mom, I signed up for several email newsletters updating me on milestones, and tips and tricks on eating, sleeping, playing, etc. Over and over again they all talked about starting a bedtime routine as soon as possible. I had a hard time believing that my tiny newborn could really start to notice patterns like the newsletters claimed, but I figured we'd give it a shot. It was a change as Marcus and I have never been really routine people. We're both pretty laid back, so we just kind of did whatever we felt like, when we felt like it, but instating this routine has been fun for me.
Everything doesn't happen every night and if we skip or rush one thing or another, Simon usually doesn't seem to mind, but there are a few things that make a HUGE difference on how our night goes--believe me, I've learned the long, hard, restless way...
So here's our general bedtime routine that we've been using pretty much since the beginning, I'd love to hear what works for you and your littles!
Those weeks after delivery are rough. Your body has gone through a LOT and you can feel it. In the beginning we were just doing sponge baths on Simon, but I still took a bath myself every night. It was much needed relief to my healing body, but also 15-20 minutes of alone time and I needed that. Now that I'm feeling a lot better and I'm also emotionally a lot more used to motherhood, I LOVE co-bathing with Simon. It's easier and more fun than using a sink tub in my opinion. To ease him into this routine, I would nurse him when we first got in, but now he knows what's going on and loves it. It's so fun to see him kick and splash and smile back at me. I like to think he remembers swimming around in the womb and feels at home in the water.
If you're on the look out for a baby wash, I can not say enough about Tubby Todd--it's seriously the best smelling stuff in the world and free from all those nasty chemicals found in Johnson's and even in Aveeno! Our whole family uses the lotion as well. LOVE Tubby Todd and love supporting a mom run business.
2. Diaper Change by Dad
Marcus and I were raised by parents from a different generation (both our parents are in their 70s). I don't know about Boss Nielson, but I'm pretty sure my dad didn't change a single one of his 8 children's diapers. I was going to make sure Marcus could never come anywhere close to that claim. So right from the beginning I expected that when Marcus was home, he changed the diapers. There has never been any real discussion or argument about this, I would just hand him Simon and tell him he needs a new diaper and Marcus would take care of it. Now I don't have to say anything most of the time, I'm proud of the kind of Dad Marcus has become. Simon is lucky to have him as an example.
3. Parents Get Ready for Bed
While Marcus takes care of lotioning and diapering the babe, I quickly wash my face and brush my teeth, then while I read Simon a story, Marcus has his turn.
4. Bedtime Story
Probably my favorite part of bedtime is story time. I've always been a huge fan of children's books and now I finally have an excuse to buy A LOT of books :) I tend to switch off between my faves and Simon's faves. Iggy Peck, Architect falls in the my favorite column--it's beautiful and clever and I can't wait to buy the sister book, Rosie Revere, Engineer. Simon's favorites are Good Night Moon and The Little Blue Truck (Lucky me, I love that one too :))
5. Playtime & Ergobaby Swaddle with Dad
Marcus usually joins us half way through story time and once we're done, we play with Simon and get him all worn out. He's always full of giggles and we love this time of day with him! Dad's in charge of swaddling because he can get him wrapped up tight :) We love our Ergobaby Swaddler because Simon can't break free like he can when we use blankets. It's also designed so you can do a diaper change without unwrapping the whole thing. There were nights in the beginning that we were too tired and skipped the swaddle and without fail, it always ended up being a terrible night with countless wake-ups. We quickly put two and two together and now we NEVER skip this step. It's actually really funny, whenever someone asks us what our favorite baby item is, Marcus quickly answers, the Ergobaby Swaddler! As you can see, Simon likes it too :)
6. White Noise
This is another part of the magic sleep equation. When we don't have this on, there are definitely more wake-ups. I had a noise-maker in my amazon cart, but then Marcus found that there were tons of options on Spotify! Relaxing Rain is my personal favorite.
7. Nursing to Sleep
Having Simon swaddled up while I nurse him, keeps him so calm. When babies are this young, they don't have much control over their little arms and legs, so being wrapped up make them feel secure. I love nursing Simon; we rarely use bottles because there's pretty much nothing I find cuter than looking down and seeing my shiny little man doze off in satisfaction snuggled up next to me :) I've been really lucky with breastfeeding, I know it's not as dreamy for everyone, but I hope all you mamas out there get to have some fond memories of it at least for a little bit.
And that's it! This is what works for our family. Our nights are not perfect, and some are definitely better than others, but overall, we love our bedtime routine and we love having Simon in bed with us. I know there are differing opinions on that topic, but there is research on both sides and I'm a strong believer in a mother's intuition, so do your research and make the choice that you feel best about.
You can read more about bed-sharing here and here if you're interested. Also recently read these and I'm obsessed: one & twoThis post was sponsored by Ergobaby, but all opinions are my own. I truly appreciate the support from my sponsors since it allows me to continue creating fun, original content for you to read. Be sure and check them out!