Is it me or did the holidays come super fast? Maybe everything is moving faster for me because baby C will be here in less than 60 days and the thought of having a toddler and newborn is still a bit overwhelming.
When my friends at JOHNSON’S asked me to share my parenting hacks, I chuckled a bit because I was like, “I’m still figuring it out.” However, going over how to care for a newborn and toddler in my head helped me realize that there is one thing that helped me keep my sanity as a mom for sure: a nighttime routine.
Newborns are so easy in comparison to toddlers in my opinion. They mostly sleep – Maizah was a fantastic sleeper – and just need to be fed and changed when they are not. I mean, yes, there’s more: you’ll stare at their little beautiful face and wonder why God chose you to be their parent but for the most part that’s it.
The hard part is they’re not quite on a schedule yet and their sleep schedule is whatever they want it to be. And lack of sleep is TOUGH.
The goal of a parent to a newborn is to condition your baby to get into a routine so they get a good night’s rest. The best way to do that is to be overwhelmingly consistent – especially in the first 6 months of their life. Having a clear nighttime routine is what I believe helped Maizah be and stay a good sleeper.
(NOTE: you will have moments of sleep recession, but even routine helped us get through that a week at a time)
We also were very adamant about not letting Maizah sleep in our bed – no matter what. We’ve had a handful of times where she was sick or just having a hard time sleep where we made the exception, but honestly that’s been about 4 or 5 times in her life. We prefer to stay in her room with her, let her cry it out or just simply let her get up.
But even now that Maizah is three and way more active than she was a couple of years ago, our nighttime routine brings the sanity back to a hectic day and (sometimes) helps us end on a calm note.
NEWBORN NIGHTTIME ROUTINE
A soothing bath is the best way to start to a nighttime routine for your new one. Using a gentle cleanser and shampoo that’s still moisturizing for your baby is key. Sometimes, I would hum and play some soft music on my phone to help set the mood especially if she was a little cranky. Then when I moisturized her, I’d give her a gentle baby massage just to relax her even more. Any lotion that’s natural with lavender or chamomile really seemed to help get her more relaxed and ready to go to sleep. Then, I would feed and burp her. I breastfed and pumped, but at night I especially made sure we got that skin to skin contact before she fell asleep. Most times she would fall asleep right when she was full. After eating, it’s time to burp and then swaddle. Ah, just thinking about it is giving me sweet memories with Maizah and getting me so excited for baby C!
NEWBORN NIGHTTIME ROUTINE ESSENTIALS
Baby bath tub
(I like JOHNSON’S BEDTIME line)
Baby wash cloth
Baby bath towel
Baby lotion (I like JOHNSON’S BEDTIME line)
Baby pajamas with footies
Bottle (if not breastfeeding)
TODDLER NIGHTTIME ROUTINE
Making the announcement that we’re about to have bathtime has been helpful to get my toddler in the bath. We do it at 7p everyday (her bedtime is 8p) usually after dinner and no matter how tired me or her father are, we make it an enthusiastic announcement. While the bath is running, we usually have her clean up her toys and then assist her and taking off her clothes and putting them in the hamper. I like to do this because it gives her a sense of independence and responsibility which is so key at this age.
Bubbles are a big deal to her, so I make sure I never forget the bubbles by using a bubble bath with – you guessed it – lavender or chamomile. If necessary, I even add a couple drops of lavender oil as well. It’s so relaxing for her. Then she gets in the bath and I pour in her bath toys. Her bath buddies are Whale and Duckie and the rest are numbers and/or letters so we can review as she bathes. I let her have play time in the bath for 5-10 minutes (depending how on schedule we are) and then she puts up her toys, I bathe her and then she gets out.
Massaging is still a huge help to relaxing her when gets out of the tub. I still do that when I moisturize her. In the winter, I use both a lotion and coconut oil to ensure she’s extra moisturized. In the summer, lotion does the trick. And then we get dressed in her “jammers” – that’s what we call pajamas around her – and brush our teeth. Because she’s old enough for conversation, I usually ask her how her day was and/or what she learned and allow her to reflect her day.
After brushing her teeth, we use the potty (if she didn’t go beforehand), then we get in bed and read a book. We change books out every 3-4 days and try to keep the variety interesting. We read everything from books about family, her fave cartoon characters, faith and growing up. Once we read, we pray and then it’s lights out.
TODDLER NIGHTTIME ROUTINE ESSENTIALS
Cleanser/body wash (like JOHNSON’S BEDTIME baby bath)
Lotion (like JOHNSON’S BEDTIME baby lotion)
Books (we’re loving this and this right now)
Because we have been intentional about our nighttime routine with Maizah since she was a baby, she has loved the bedtime routine as she’s grown into a toddler. Things are noticeably more active, but at the end of the day, it accomplishes the main goal: a good night’s rest for your child. Quite honestly, there’s no better hack than that. Be sure to check out JOHNSON’S video on “Parenting Hacks: Top Tips for Newborns, Babies & Toddlers” below.
This post was sponsored by JOHNSON’S. All thoughts and opinions are my own.