Living Arrows 19/52 (2016)

We have, at last, all been relatively well this week (well, at least after Barry recovered from the bug that Toby had the week before). Nobody has got a cold for, I think, the first time since about February!

Gabe is still teething though and he has been having the most horrific teething poos ever – nearly every one leaks out of his nappy and requires a full change of clothes. The one at 2 am the other night that went right through to his sleeping bag was a real treat! He’s been OK in himself though – off his food a bit but I can’t say I blame him. I’m just hoping these next teeth come soon and we can all have a break.

I haven’t had the big camera out all this week though so both Living Arrows photos are iPhone snaps – I took this one of Gabe when I was pushing him up to the shop. He isn’t the easiest of babies sometimes but when he looks at you like this it does make all the sleepless nights worthwhile.

Gabe giving me a cute smile in the buggy

And I took this picture of Toby and his daddy at bedtime the other night. Toby has got really into his books in the last few months and we always have a bedtime story (or three!). Usually we end up reading the same stories over and over again for a few weeks and then he’ll have a change of heart and move onto something else, but the other night he chose a Noddy book for his daddy to read. This book actually belonged to me and my brother when we were little and I’ve had it (along without about six other Noddy books) for years, ever since I left home I think. I don’t know if you’ve ever read a Noddy book but they’re quite long so he’s been having one chapter a night. I wasn’t sure if he’d have the patience to sit through a longer story but he seems to be enjoying it…and I just love watching my lovely husband and my biggest boy enjoying time together.

Toby and his daddy reading Noddy at bedtime

Living Arrows

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

I’m sure you have all heard of Johnson’s, they are a brand synonymous with babies – I know that the smell of Johnson’s baby lotion will forever remind me of childhood bath times. Well, those clever people at Johnson’s have come up with a clinically proven bedtime routine that can help babies fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. And they’ve challenged me to try it with Gabe and see if it actually works for us.

Johnsons bedtime

For the next week I will be following our normal bedtime routine with Gabe and recording some information about it in a special sleep diary. Then next week we will be using some of the products from Johnson’s Bedtime range and following their 3 step bedtime routine. We’ll be recording the same information as for week one in the sleep diary and hopefully we’ll see by the end of the two weeks if the 3 step routine does help Gabe get to sleep more easily and stay asleep longer.

At the moment Gabe’s bedtime routine is quite short and sweet. He only has a bath twice a week so on the days when he’s not having a bath I take him upstairs at about 6 pm, get him changed for bed in Toby’s room, then we sit on our bed while he has his bedtime bottle. Some nights he will fall asleep having his milk but some nights he can take a while to fall asleep, and occasionally he can have a complete meltdown and take ages to calm down and settle. After he has fallen asleep I usually sit with him fairly upright for about half an hour – because of his reflux he can quite easily be sick if I put him down straight away. The transfer to his crib is always a bit tricky and I’m always worried he’s going to wake up. He then tends to sleep until between 4 and 5 am and it will usually be at least an hour if not longer before I can get him back to sleep again.

The Johnson’s 3 step bedtime routine contains, as you would imagine, three easy to follow steps;

  • Step 1 – Bath using Johnson’s Bedtime Bath or Wash. Bath time isn’t just about washing, it is also about playing, learning, and giving parents and babies opportunities to connect and bond.
  • Step 2 – Massage using Johnson’s Bedtime Oil or Lotion. Massage is great for making babies relaxed and comfortable before bed.
  • Step 3 – Quiet time. In the time before bed reading, singing or listening to music can help babies wind down and fall asleep.

I’m eager to try this new routine with Gabe; if it can help us to avoid those bedtime meltdowns or get him to stay asleep for an extra hour in the mornings then I will be a very happy mama! Do check back in a couple of weeks to see how we’ve got on. I’d love to hear about your bedtime routines too – what works for your little ones?

You can read about how we got on with our new bedtime routine here.

**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.