I cuddle my children to sleep // Bedtime with a baby and a toddler

I cuddle my children to sleep. I hold them until they fall asleep and then I give them a kiss and put them gently into bed. And as long as they want me to I’m going to carry on doing it.

Cuddling Toby to sleep

When Toby was a baby I read all the books, all the advice, about how you should put your baby in bed in that elusive ‘sleepy but awake’ state. As it turned out from a few months old I could put Toby into bed wide awake, say ‘sleepy time now Toby’, shut the door and leave him to happily go to sleep by himself.

Somewhere along the line though that changed. He would happily go in his cot but start screaming as soon as we tried to leave the room. It was about the same time that he started refusing to let his daddy put him to bed and so I always had to do it. I lost count of the number of hours I spent, heavily pregnant, sat on his bedroom floor, slowly inching towards the door as he fell asleep before I could eventually make it out of the room. In that stage no amount of cuddling seemed to help – he wouldn’t fall asleep on me but wouldn’t fall asleep without me there either. This happened in the middle of the night too and I spent quite a lot of time sleeping on his bedroom floor too.

And then when Toby was two we decided that his nap had to go. About the same time he also stopped having a bottle at bedtime. And without a nap he would get ready for bed, sit on my knee and quite often before I had even got to the end of Somewhere over the Rainbow (my bedtime song of choice) he would be fast asleep. When he was two and a half he moved from his cot to a bed and for some reason I decided I should be putting in him bed awake rather than cuddling him to sleep but after a couple of nights when we were back to the sitting on the bedroom floor until he fell asleep routine I suddenly thought ‘why I am doing this?’ Toby is happiest falling asleep on my lap, it makes absolutely no difference to whether or not he will wake up in the night or not, so why am I putting us both through this? Just because that’s what the ‘experts’ tell me I should be doing.

So now we’re back to our bedtime cuddles. Usually I do it but Toby is happy for his daddy to put him to bed these days too. And I will keep on cuddling Toby to sleep for as long as he wants me too but I fear our days are numbered. Some nights Toby decides he wants to get in bed to fall asleep, although for now he still wants one of us to sit in the chair until he does. I guess those nights will become more frequent and one day he won’t want bedtime cuddles at all.

But I’ll still have Gabe. I can count on one hand the number of times he’s been put in bed awake and gone to sleep by himself. In the very early days he would fall asleep after feeding and I couldn’t put him down straight away because he was very likely to be sick. We moved onto bottles and he would still often fall asleep while feeding or straight after but would need to be held for a while before he could safely be put down. And now, we have to wait until he’s fast asleep before trying the tricky manoeuvre of getting him in bed, on his tummy, without him waking up. Because if he does wake up then you usually have to pick him up and settle him all over again. It’s not always ideal but I know it won’t last forever.

Cuddles with sleepy Gabe

One day neither of my boys will want me to cuddle them to sleep so no one is going to make me stop until they decide they’re ready to go to sleep by themselves.

Do you cuddle your children to sleep or do they go to sleep by themselves? I’d love to know if my experience is similar to other people’s. Also, you should consider getting the best baby mattress for your child. There a good chance that it can help them fall asleep and stay asleep longer.

 

 

 

JOHNSON’S 3 step bedtime routine challenge // The results

A few week’s ago we were asked to try out the Johnson’s 3 step bedtime routine and see if it helped Gabe to settle more easily at night, and to stay asleep for longer.

Johnsons bedtime

In week one we followed our usual bedtime routine and recorded how we got on in a sleep diary. Our normal bedtime with Gabe starts at about 6pm. I take him upstairs and get him changed for bed in Toby’s room. We then go into our bedroom (Gabe still sleeps in a bedside crib) with only the night light on. Gabe has his bottle of milk and usually he falls asleep whilst drinking it, or shortly after. Because of his reflux I will then sit holding him propped up for between 20 and 30 minutes before putting him into bed. He doesn’t usually wake up when I transfer him into bed, or if he does it only takes a bit of shushing and a back rub to settle him again. Twice a week we will add a bath into the routine but don’t usually do it any more often than that.

Once he’s in bed Gabe usually then sleeps until somewhere between 4 and 5:30 am. He sometimes wakes up once in the early hours of the morning but because he’s right next to me I can usually get him to go back to sleep within a few minutes by putting his dummy in and giving him another rub on the back.

Until fairly recently, when Gabe woke up I would bring him downstairs, give him a bottle, change his nappy and within an hour he would fall asleep and I could get him back in bed for another hour or so. The last few weeks however he has been waking up and then refusing to go back to sleep until 8 or 9 am by which point Toby is up and there is no chance of me getting any more rest.

During the first week of the challenge, when we were just following our normal routine, bedtime took between 25 and 50 minutes. I have only counted up to the point Gabe fell asleep – as I mentioned there is usually an additional 20-30 minutes before I actually put him in bed but this is only due to his reflux. Most nights it only took 5-10 minutes for Gabe to fall asleep after he had finished his milk. There was one night when it took 20 minutes but that was because he had had a late nap that day.

In that first week I was up with Gabe between 5 and 5:30 most days. There was one day when he woke at 4:30 but I did manage to get him back in bed about 6 and we had another hour’s sleep. On 5 of the 7 nights he did wake at some point during the night but I was able to get him back to sleep within a few minutes without getting out of bed. There was only one night where he had a bath and that didn’t seem to make any difference to his sleep that night.

For the second week of the challenge we were to follow the Johnson’s 3 step bedtime routine. The three steps are:

  • Bath – using Johnson’s Bedtime Bath or Wash.
  • Massage – using Johnson’s Bedtime Oil or Lotion.
  • Quiet time – either reading, singing or playing music is suggested.

Gabe enjoying his Johnsons Bedtime Bath

We started our bedtime routine slightly earlier in the second week so that we could fit everything in. By 6pm Gabe is really ready for his bed and I didn’t want to end up with an overtired and grumpy baby on my hands! I gave Gabe a bath using the Johnson’s Bedtime Bath. It smelled lovely and made plenty of bubbles. Gabe quiet enjoys being in the bath but he doesn’t really like getting undressed to get in, and he definitely doesn’t like getting out! He did enjoy looking at the bubbles in the bath and I tried to spend a bit longer than my usual quick dunk and wash with him so he got a chance to experience a bit more of the fun of bath time. There was one night when we skipped the bath as Gabe was really tired and grumpy and I decided a bath would only make this worse.

After his bath I took him into Toby’s room for his massage and to get dressed. I kept the lights quite low and used this time to calm things down. I used the Johnson’s Bedtime Lotion (mostly because I didn’t want to get oil on Gabe’s cloth nappies). I haven’t really done any baby massage with Gabe before but I went to classes with Toby so I used some of the techniques I remembered from there. Again the Bedtime Lotion smelled lovely and it left Gabe’s skin nice and smooth. Gabe seemed to quite enjoy his massage although I only spent about 5 minutes doing it each evening. If you’ve never done baby massage before you can find more information here.

When the massage was done and Gabe was dressed for bed I took him into our room and gave him his milk as usual. We always have this quiet time, although usually I just let Gabe drink his milk and don’t really do anything else. Johnson’s sent us a lovely book to read but I decided that as we’re usually in the almost dark for Gabe’s quiet time that I would just sing to him while he had his milk instead.

So to the bit you’ve been waiting for – did the Johnson’s 3 step bedtime routine make any difference to Gabe’s sleeping habits?

In the second week our bedtime routine took around 15 minutes longer than our usual routine. I was a bit concerned because once Gabe is ready for bed I don’t usually have a lot of time to get him ready before he starts getting massively grumpy but he seemed to tolerate the extra time really well. The time it took him to fall asleep after finishing his milk was roughly the same, but then it was already pretty quick so we couldn’t expect much improvement there.

The night wakings were pretty much the same too – although we did get two nights with no wake ups in the night. The early starts continued though – we had a couple of 4:30 am get ups but in the last two days of the challenge Gabe didn’t wake up until 5:30 and then 6 am so we were definitely heading in the right direction.

I think though we probably didn’t see a huge amount of difference because our bedtime routine was already fairly similar to the 3 step routine suggested by Johnson’s. From now on I think we’ll be adapting a bit of the Johnson’s routine and working it into what we already do. I don’t think we’ll be moving to a bath every night – Toby only has a bath twice a week too and that seems to work for us. I enjoyed the massage though and I think Gabe did too so we’ll be trying to keep that going most nights if we can. I definitely be keeping up the singing – it really did seem to help Gabe settle after his milk. And we’ll still be using the Johnson’s Bedtime products too – I’m not sure how effective they really are but they do smell nice and that’s enough for me!

**Sponsored blog post by the JOHNSON’S® brand. I have received payment incentive and samples but all opinions are my own. JOHNSON’S® clinically proven bedtime routine consists of bath, massage and quiet time, tested on babies 7 months+, 1 week+ use.

Review: Grobag 3.5 tog

We’ve always used sleeping bags with Toby since he was about six weeks old and big enough to fit in one. He’s such a wriggly sleeper that there is no way he would keep a blanket on! We used a few different kinds of sleeping bags to start with but kept coming back to the Grobag. I think we’ve had them in pretty much every size and every tog rating there is!

With the cold weather we’ve had over the last few months it’s been rather chilly in our house, especially overnight. We already had a couple of 2.5 tog Grobags and some 1 tog ones which we used for day time naps but at night even the 2.5 tog wasn’t quite warm enough for Toby. Luckily the Grobag also comes in a 3.5 tog version which is intended for room temperatures below 16°, and we were sent one to try out just in time as temperatures dropped.

Grobag 3.5 tog

As Toby is so tall he’s been using a 18-36 month Grobag for a while now but we also had the 0-6 month and 6-18 month versions before that. The Grobags have a couple of different closures but we have always used the ones with poppers at the shoulders and a zip on the side, and so far Toby hasn’t figured out how to get out of them!

Fly-a-kite grobag

There are loads of different designs and I love the Fly-a-Kite design that we received. Those owls are so cute! And Toby looks pretty content in it too (apologies for the lack of pictures of him actually in bed but bedtime is not always the most relaxing of times in our house, and so not the easiest time to take photos!).

Grobag

I also really like that every Grobag includes a free room thermometer and has information on the packaging about which tog to choose and also what your baby should be wearing under their sleeping bag depending on the room temperature. All this information is also available on the website in the Grobag Guide.

We love our Grobags here at Toby Goes Bananas and the 3.5 tog is no exception. It’s fantastic for when the weather is cold as it means I don’t have to leave the heating on overnight and I’m sure it will also come in really useful if we ever actually manage to go camping again! If you are looking for a baby sleeping bag I would definitely recommend the whole Grobag range.

 

**Disclosure: I was sent a Grobag 3.5 tog in return for this review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

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