Bedtime Routine with Healthy Living Made Simple #SamsClubMag - Behind the Camera and Dreaming

Bedtime Routine with Healthy Living Made Simple #SamsClubMag

Monday, April 06, 2015

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I think the most Googled sentence of new parents ever might be "how do I get my baby to sleep" or "why won't my baby sleep" or even "why does this kid hate sleep?!?!". There are obviously lots of variations of that question but at some point or another we all ask that very question because after all sleep is the key to pretty much everything in life. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (as referenced in this month's Healthy Living Mag) "Sleep is vital for health and development".We spend a lot of time as new parents focused on it. Our sleep, their sleep, night sleep, day sleep. Life seems to revolve around this very subject for months and even years after you begin having children. I think even now, with a six month old, it's still the most common question I get "how's the baby sleeping?"

So, I'm here today to tell you, contrary to what some parenting guides will tell you, there is no magic way to get children to sleep. The simple fact is, you try what feels right for you and your family until you find something that works.

Then, when the next baby comes along, start that process over because the number one thing I've learned as a parent of two is that no two babies are the same. What worked for one child, may or may not work for another. There are however a few things I've learned that make actually getting to bed a little better.


Baby Items at Sam's Club!
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  1. Go Outside & Play! That may seem strange as it is quite the opposite of sleep, but small children need to be stimulated while they are awake. We all do! They need to go outside, wrestle, go for a walk, a swing, or stroller ride. One of my favorite Pediatricians, Dr. Sears stated in Healthy Living Made Simple Magazine "Here’s a list of some of the fascinating health effects neuroscientists have discovered from a simple walk in nature: decreased heart rate, more relaxed blood pressure, increased happy hormones, decreased stress hormones, mellower moods, stronger immune system, and fewer fearful thoughts." These can be easily translated into good sleep. 
  2. Healthy Eating and a full belly! I have found that I have to make sure my children have had a good, filling dinner or snack before trying to put them to sleep. Going to bed hungry, just causes more problems in our house. It's a battle with my 3 year old to get him to eat something filling at night, so we give him milk as part of our bedtime routine. 
  3. A comfortable place to sleep. Whether your infant is sleeping beside you or in a crib, make sure they are safe and comfortable. Both of my children slept in Rock N Play Sleepers beside my bed until they began rolling to the side. This is what was best for me and them and it helped me get the maximum amount of sleep. Once I transitioned them to their beds, we used comfort items, such as pacifiers (well they used those from the beginning), noise/music players that hang on the side of the crib and a mobile. These items helped their cribs feel more comfortable to them. Most pediatricians still recommend against blankets, pillows, or stuffed toys while sleeping, but as they grow these are great comfort items for toddlers and older kids. 
  4. A healthy clean body. If your child is sick or irritated from a skin issue, their sleep is going to be restless. So, we do everything we possibly can to prevent illness, make them comfortable when they are ill, and reduce skin issues. Here are a few things we do to help as this winter has been really harsh on our babies!
    1. Use hypoallergenic soaps, diapers, lotions, and wipes.
    2. Wash their clothing and sheets in fragrance free detergent.
    3. After bathing them, we lotion them up within 3 minutes of getting out of the bath and treat any bug bites or scratches at that time.
For after bath/bedtime and during the night we keep this little caddie with the baby's things, and big brother uses some of them too after bath. It makes it easier to just grab it and meet his needs right there. We typically keep it in the living room beside the couch. It contains diapers, hypoallergenic wipes (those we go through the most, because both kids use them for everything - good thing I bought an extra 1,000 count box of wipes!), healing ointments, fragrance free lotion, calendula cream, diaper rash cream, and I try to keep a burp cloth and a sleeper for the baby. It helps a lot when we keep it stocked!



5. Create a calm environment. After bath, we do our best to limit any rigorous activities and make that a time for maybe a bedtime show (if we have time - we usually don't) and reading one book. The baby is then taken into a dark quiet room to be rocked or given one last bottle and the toddler lays down in his bed for one book/story to be read to him. 

Now, I'm not saying our routine sticks every night but when it works it works well and we are all happier and better rested! I hope this helped in a small way if you are struggling with bedtime! We all do. If you have a newborn, just know, it does get better! With both of my kids it got much better around 5 months, but we still have an on and off struggle still with a 3 year old and 6 month old. There are some nights we cry, yell, and don't follow our routine, but with an established plan and healthy environment, at least we are striving for a successful night!

Before I go I want to mention that creating this environment doesn't have cost you an arm and a leg and it can be fun to establish what works for your family. I had so much fun wandering the aisles of Sam's Club this weekend, because I am now a card carrying member! You can get so many baby care items at Sam's Club. You can even find organic, fragrance free, and hypoallergenic items that I thought you'd only be able to find at specialty stores. They even carry large premium formula in major brands as well as their own premium formula, diapers, and wipes. We are always out of wipes so I grabbed this box of 1,000 and it was under $18.



What has worked in for your family? Leave a comment so other readers can see your suggestions too! 

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5 comments

  1. I love this! Such great advice for families! And I love that you found a great quote is a fun magazine! #Client

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  2. Love this post! I love having a good bedtime routine, it makes the days so much easier!

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  3. Routine is SO important for kids. We've always had a pretty strict bedtime routine and the kids still stick to it even though they're older. Makes for an nice end to the day.

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  4. Creating a routine definitely works. We've got it down with the 5yo, but now trying to get one going with the 5.5mo old. She's getting there.

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  5. Great tips. Routine is key for sure!! Those wipes look great.

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