Friday, January 29, 2010

Establishing a Bedtime Routine

When Seth was around a month old, he had the hardest time going to sleep in the evenings. He would cry every night for almost two hours straight. We would rock, cradle, bounce, and do everything we possibly could to console him. Night after night we knew the hours between 7 and 9 were not going to be pleasant. By the time Seth was 2 months old he was starting to fall asleep better and we realized that many nights the culprit of crying was gas. I cannot even begin to describe how happy Bryan and I were the first night that the crying didn't happen anymore, but Seth still wouldn't go to sleep easily even though he no longer cried at the top of his lungs for hours on end. When Seth was 3 months old, we were getting better at getting Seth to sleep but we lacked any consistency at getting him to sleep at the same time each night. I started reading some articles about establishing a bedtime routine and most of the advice mentioned doing the same thing every night, but a routine wouldn't be much help until the age of 4 months old (I definitely think that was true for us). As soon as Seth reached the 4 month mark, we started a bedtime routine.
Now, if you are a fan of Modern Family, then you know how hilarious the gay couple is on the show. Well, one episode included the couple using the Ferber method to get their adopted daughter to sleep. Bryan and I decided just a few days before that episode aired that we were going to try letting Seth fall to sleep in his crib with five minute increments passing before we would go back in to soothe him. Everything that I read said that it would take a few days but the results would pay off. It melted my heart to let my baby boy cry. We had to go in every five minutes for almost an hour the first night, maybe 20 minutes the second night. If you have indeed seen the Modern Family episode, I was just like the "motherly" guy wanting to go in and console the baby every few seconds. After about four nights though, the crying began to cease altogether. It's been two weeks now and Seth has done remarkably well. We try to get ready for bed around 7. We don't bathe him every night, but on the nights that we do, we start with a bath. Next, he gets his vitamin and gets into his pajamas. Usually I feed him, then Bryan, Seth, and I all read a Bible (We love this Bible) story. Then the lights go out and I rock him for about a minute and hum or sing him a song. He goes to bed still awake, but he is asleep now within a couple of minutes without crying. I was amazed after the first night that we intentionally tried to put him to bed between 7:30 and 8:00, he slept until about 6 the next morning. He had only done that a few times and had gotten back into the routine of waking up once to eat in the middle of the night. But, after establishing the bedtime routine and helping him self soothe himself to sleep, he has been sleeping through the night. I am not sure, but I think the bedtime routine might be the best thing we have done not only for ourselves but also for Seth since we have become parents.


  1. I know you are excited about this. I know it is such a relief that first night they sleep through the night... and you wake up and you think to yourself.."wait did I just get 8 hours of sleep"? Wonderful stuff!

  2. Where do you get your parenting advice? From a gay couple on Sitcom. That's the most reliable source of parenting information, right.