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Thread: Our Journey - Establishing a night time ritual

  1. #1

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    Default Our Journey - Establishing a night time ritual

    I have decided to take you all on my journey to get a night time ritual working for us.

    History
    To honest I am not a consistent person and have not done a very good job of getting a sleep ritual working for my daughter Maggie. I have let too much interfere, especially DH, but I have now got him to understand how important this is for us. Also I often ask for help when it is too late.

    Here are some posts where I have mentioned some of our sleep issues.
    http://bellybelly.com.au/forums/view...er=asc&start=0
    http://bellybelly.com.au/forums/viewtopic.php?t=18982
    http://bellybelly.com.au/forums/view...hlight=#398421

    So what is this all about? :-k
    In order for me to get this working I really need to document this as I go. If I know others are "watching" I will endevour not to give up. Also I thought it might be good for others to see what happens. It is all well and good telling someone to use a night time ritual, but how do you do it! For me as well I find writing things down helps me to destress and forces me to think through what I might perceive to be a problem.

    What I want from fellow BB'ers
    To read and be supportive (please no telling me to CC)
    Offer advice if you think you can help
    Most of all please do not let me give up!

    Thanks Kelly for letting me do this.


  2. #2

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    I will be right behind you 100% Astrid. When were you going to start?

  3. #3

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    YAY Astrid!!! If it's any concellation, the thing I also struggle with is organisation and consistency. But it's amazing how much better I cope when I do have it, and the difference in the kids is massive. The've both just eaten their dinner; now they are outside playing before bath and bed. It's no fighting anymore, they just know and I love it.
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    Follow me in 2015 as I go Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team and many wonderful members who have been so supportive since 2003.

  4. #4

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    Officially starting tonight, but I have been trying this for almost a week.

    Times are approximate - not trying to do anything to a set time, just a set order

    5.30 Paracetamol - has been teething and was quite cranky
    5.45 Dinner - was fussy
    6.00 Quiet play whilst I got shower stuff ready
    6.30 Shower - lots of yawns dry off, dress in PJ's (trying to be consistent with sleepwear, as it is getting colder, so things with feet
    7.00 Sit down in lounge, TV off, only lamp on, Peace Baby playing. Read special night time book (trying to keep one book specially for night) Yawns
    7.15 BF, music still playing - starts to look tired, but then starts to crawl off, fights attempts to hold her, read another sleepy book
    put her on floor for play whilst I grab dinner

    7:40 Restart music, change to Robert Miles, reread nighttime book, turn off lamp, sits quietly on lap, watching me surf on laptop. I jiggle my leg to the music, falls asleep! Hold till floppy, she had a few sucks
    8.00 Transfer to cot, Peace Baby playing in background.

    Still expect to wake about 8.45 as she has other nights

    8:40 Woke up - not really awake, but crying and crawling around cot. Brought back to lounge, put back on Peace Baby so sound was the same between rooms. She was so upset. Turned of music and she stopped crying :-k me thinks she does not like Peace Baby. Calmed her with some UB40, found out the other day that she liked it.
    8:55 put in cot, no music this time.
    9.00 Woke up, sitting up and crying. Settled by sitting her against my chest and jiggling leg.
    9.20 back in cot

    This is distressing she is so upset when she wakes. Reminds me of when she was 3months old and diagnosed with reflux, this behaviour is very similar.

    Notes: looks like she has oral thrush again, so could be making her extra cranky along with the teething.
    Would have had quiet play before book, but was already yawning

    Questions: What to do when she doesn't go to sleep straight away and fights it? I am less stressed if we take a break, but then how do I keep consistency?

    Will edit post over the evening

  5. #5
    Melinda Guest

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    Great idea Astrid!! I wholeheartedly agree with what Kelly has said too - both myself and Jacob cope much better when there is organisation and consistency when it comes to sleep.

    I'm just wondering - is there any reason why you do the wind down in your lounge room? Is it nice and warm etc in there and you're all comfie there? I'm just wondering if perhaps sometimes Maggie might fight the sleep because she plays there during the day etc? This is where a lot of her daily activities take place IYKWIM? Perhaps you could think about relocating to her room - put a CD player in there etc and have the music going and the sleepy books by her cot perhaps? So you could try going straight from the bathroom, into her room and go through all the motions there - getting dressed for bed, sleepy book and music, BF, quiet cuddles with Mum etc and then transfer to the cot??? Sorry, I'm just thinking out loud here and trying to work out why she may get upset sometimes. I also notice that you have your dinner part way through the wind-down for bed routine - is there any way you could have your dinner at the same time as Maggie, i.e. have it together as a family? That would remove that part which may disturb/confuse her perhaps? She may also get a bit stimulated by watching things on the laptop perhaps.........

    What to do when she doesn't go to sleep straight away and fights it? I am less stressed if we take a break, but then how do I keep consistency?
    If she doesn't go to sleep straight away, perhaps you could try a few different things to see if one of them provides some comfort:

    - give her a comfort toy (something she only has at sleep times)
    - introduce a sleep message at each sleep time (just an additional sleep 'tool' really - something that she will eventually associate with sleep)
    - keep the music going
    - turn on a night light for her

    Other things you could do to settle her when she's crying is to gently rock or pat her. We found rolling Jacob onto his side and putting one hand on his shoulder and the other on his hip/bottom and alternating rocking/patting really soothed him. Sometimes we'd be doing it for an hour (we'd do it in shifts!) but it soothed him and he relaxed a LOT from that. Don't feel bad if you get stressed from the crying - it happens to all of us and sometimes you need to take a few minutes to yourself so that you can go back in ready to help. The main thing is that you're consistent in your approach to settling, once you've found something that seems to soothe and settle her. Even now at 19 months old, Jacob still enjoys that rocking/patting and is soothed by it if he's upset. I think it's the rhythmical motion of it......

    Anyway, sorry if I've rambled on or have caused any offence.......just trying to throw around a few ideas for you!

  6. #6

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    Answering you questions Melinda ,and no, I do not take offence, it gets my brain working. Explaining things in writing helps me.

    Why the lounge? Yes I am comfortable here and I have my music loaded on my laptop.

    Why not the bedroom? Maggie does not have her own room yet, she sleeps with us, either in the cot or our bed. I try to start her out in the cot, it is safe for her when we are still up and eventually I would like her there most of the night. Also I don’t really like our bedroom, we have not fully done it up yet and it feels like a storage room. Oh and the cats really come up and annoy us. Nothing worse than a almost asleep bub being woken by a cat meowing “feed me”. Can’t lock them out either, as we do not have doors on all the rooms.

    So what am I going to do? Thinking about it, I will tidy up the bedroom, set-up the reading lamp. There is a stereo in there now, so I will make up a sleep CD. As for the cats, even if I feed them, they still hassle. Trying to type now with a cat on my lap! DH is anti nightlites for some reason. I might just get a low wattage globe for the lamp and point it to the wall after we have finished reading.

    Dinner? I only had dinner during the wind down process as she would not settle. Realise now that it was a bad move. With DH away and we have dinner together, even if I just have a snack and have big dinner later when she is fully settled. When DH is home, he can just cook and leave mine for later until we get this worked out.

    Laptop - I think is kind of mesmerises her. But I am willing to ditch it to get her settled. Just means less BB time as I could read as she rested on my lap.

    Rocking and patting – Have tried this in the cot, but she just stands up, any attempt to lay her down just makes her upset. So how can I settle her in the cot? Do I just pick her up for now and cuddle and pat her til she gets used to the routine?

    I am really beginning to see now, why I had trouble before ](*,)

  7. #7
    Melinda Guest

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    I'm so glad you weren't offended Astrid! Comforted sleeping/settling is something that I'm really passionate about and it's very close to my heart so I'm more than happy to share my thoughts and experiences in the hope that it might help! I know only too well how difficult it is when you have a little one who fights sleep and who can get very distressed.

    I can see from what you have said, why you have avoided your bedroom. Perhaps if you do a few things to it like you've said, it might become a nice, warm, relaxing place for that wind-down for her? Cats can be annoying (again speaking from experience LOL). I don't know if your cats are allowed outdoors, but is it possible to put them out for a little while whilst you attend to Maggie, since you don't have doors on all the rooms?

    I think you can get 40w light bulbs - that's about the lowest you will find I think? You could get one of those and perhaps even one that is pearl or something so that it is nice and soft and not really bright?

    Sorry.....I thought having dinner at that time may have been a regular part of your evening routine - I didn't realise it was a once off LOL.

    If the rocking/patting in her cot doesn't help her but you want to try and persue that a bit more perhaps do as you said and pick her up and cuddle her and rock/pat her in your arms - that's what I'd be doing for now anyway!

    Have you tried giving her a bit of a massage after her bath maybe? That might be something that relaxes her nicely ready for that last feed/book/bed ritual?

    There are so many different things you can try but I think keeping things fairly simple as opposed to busy/complex is important too. That is, if you try to do too much as part of your evening ritual when they are little, they misunderstand what the cues mean? I think as they get older you can add a few things in here and there, but when they are little, if things are kept fairly simple, but consistent, then they eventually pick up those cues and appreciate that predicability IYKWIM? So, as an example, maybe you could try this (obviously times are just me plucking ones out of the air!):

    5.30pm: Dinner (as a family where possible)
    6.00pm: Quiet Play (TV off etc)
    6.30pm: Bath/Shower (perhaps with Mum/Dad?)
    7.00pm: Get dressed for bed in bedroom. Switch on Peace Baby (perhaps a massage also - just 5 - 10 minutes?).
    7.15pm: Turn off main bedroom light and switch on lamp. Read a sleepy-time book (something fairly short and simple).
    7.30pm: BF and then into cot (perhaps with a sleep message and/or comfort toy?)

    I just realised you said she wakes quite often at around 8.45, so that would be around 45 minutes after she's gone to sleep, right? So what's happening there is most likely, that she is waking after 1 sleep cycle and is having trouble settling herself when she stirs a bit.

  8. #8

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    I would really love to massage her again, but I have no idea how to when she will not sit or lie still. She really loved it when she was younger. Might have to do a separate post on this one.

    With regards to DH, I find he just stimulates her. I make showers relaxing, but he makes them fun. Do you think that a fun shower is too much before bed?

  9. #9

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    Hi Astrid,

    Sounds like Melinda has given you lots of great advice in her posts.
    I would also like to add that we are used to Al waking after the first sleep cycle too. We tend not to pick him up, just pat him, re-plug him and he falls back to sleep.
    But there are times when he does fully wake up if there's something bothering (like teeth for example). When this happens I usually hold him close to my chest and sometimes gently bounce with him on the fitball until he goes back to sleep. Which it sounds like your doing something similar too.
    Sometimes I think the reason he gets so upset is because he actually wants to be asleep - he's tired!! Maybe your bub is also. I know for me, I can't sleep with music playing, maybe she feels the same way? I usually hum a few rounds of Brahms lullaby and he knows its sleep time.

    Sounds like some ideas are formulating for you in terms of making your shared bedroom space more restful. It will certainly benefit you all once that is organised.

    If you can't shut the cats out then I suppose you have to accept them as being part of the routine. Probably best to ignore the meows and not make a big deal out of them. The baby will probably be used to hearing the cat sounds anyway.

    Hope these teeth come through soon for you Maggie..

  10. #10

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    Well done on doing this Astrid!

    With regards to DH, I find he just stimulates her. I make showers relaxing, but he makes them fun. Do you think that a fun shower is too much before bed?
    Here too. But DH always wants to do baths, so I let him. And early on I realised how much both he and the babes enjoy it.....he plays mad bath cames and tickles etc etc.

    The look of relief when they are then having sleepy cuddle quiet time with me.....it is almost as if the last bursts of energy are all used up then & they just reax into my arms.

    Maggie will soon realised the order of things and start getting into her own groove. You are doing a great job.

  11. #11

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    Sounds like things are going good for you so far.

    Melinda has given you some great tips too. Although what Deb said about the music might be true - it might be overstimulating her or just too much for to concentrate on getting sleepy.

    What Lucy said about her DH bathing the kids might work for you too, maybe your DH could bath/shower her and that might make her more tired and willing to relax in bed.

    What I used to do with the stories, was get the kids fed/bathed/bottle etc and then have the cuddle and then put them into bed to read the books. (BTW you are off to a good start getting her familiar with books so early) Then if they needed it, another cuddle before being put down happy (if they got upset this wouldn't work - so I would cuddle and settle them down) and then they would drift off on their own. But what you said about not feeling comfortable in your room ATM may mean this won't work for you.

    Does your DH not like night lights at all, or just doesn't like them on all night? If he was willing to have on on while she settled to sleep, maybe you could get one of those Fisher Price light projector things where the beams of light project pictures on the wall for her to look at.

    Good luck with it tonight Astrid.

  12. #12

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    Well done Astrid, getting a bedtime routine together is fabulous, have thought about giving you suggestions but maybe if I share ours then that may help?

    Weekdays when I am home (I work part-time as well and on those days add on 30 mins which is annpoying for me but thankfully it doesn't affect Matthew too much)

    5.30pm Dad home - he plays with Matthew as I organise dinner
    6.00pm dinner time - all of us sit down and eat, with TV off
    6.20pm Bath time - daddy does bath and they have a grand time, it is a fun time, when drying and dressing him in pj's, the main bedroom light is off, small lamp on curtains closed.
    6.45pm Daddy reads him a book
    6.50pm Light turned off, sleep music on softly, I feed him a milk drink.
    7.00pm He finishes drink, I cuddle him and sing very softly to him, then I put him in his cot. He does sometimes babble a little to himself but generally by 7.30pm at the latest he is asleep. All night until the next morning.

    It took us a while to get there though! 8-9-10 months was horrid for us. We still did all the same but Matthew just wouldn't sleep. We just laid down with him. Him in his cot and either of us in the single bed in his room. He would play for ages but in the end he would fall asleep, I think he just wanted us there!

    Good luck for tonight.

  13. #13
    Melinda Guest

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    Yep, the music can be too stimulating for some - I agree! It all depends on the baby doesn't it! They're such individual little critters!!!

  14. #14

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    Starting late tonight, the mucked up naps have delayed everything. I finally got her down for a nap at 5.00 and we both slept till 6:30! Will have dinner soon.

    Yeah, the music situation can be odd. I do have a feeling that she does not like it for night time, but likes it for day naps. Still think she does not like Peace Baby. Have found that different music works at different times. If she is really overtired and I am desperate, then Robert Miles works miracles, I can have her floppy and asleep within a minute, but if I use it any earlier it does not work! It is like at times she needs one music to settle and then a switch to another to trigger the final sleep.

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    Peacebaby is either a love it or hate it one I reckon: my two love it, but my neices (ages 4 and 2) will not have a bar of it and insist on the Tasmanian Chamber Orcherstra Lullabies, which I have tried to entice Olivia with ('cos I actually really like it too!) for ease for when they all sleep in the same room (quite often) but nah, she cavorts round the room to it like a ballerina rather than finding it settling!

  16. #16

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    Don't worry about times too much Astrid, just focus on cues
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    Follow me in 2015 as I go Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team and many wonderful members who have been so supportive since 2003.

  17. #17

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    As I said before, a bit later due to bad day sleeps.


    7.00 Dinner together - refused to sit in high chair
    7.20 Quiet play whilst I got shower stuff ready
    7.30 Shower
    7.45 In bedroom! Peace Baby playing. dry off, attempt massage with some sorbolene, dress in PJ's. Difficult to do as she moves so much, hard to control on bed.
    8.00 Sit down on bed, only lamp on, Read special night time books Yawns
    8.20 Offer BF, refuses, music still playing - starts to look tired, but then starts to crawl off, fights attempts to hold her, read another sleepy book
    Place in cot with teddies, she plays for a bit, then starts to protest, take her out, offer BF, still not interested, wont be held, or sit quietly, so try cot again. Basically do this over and over.... If she does feed, she then pulls off and rolls over like she is ready for sleep, then she tosses and turns so much it wakes her up.
    9.00 Really getting stressed now, not sure if she is just overtired, or maybe hot, as I am feeling really hot. Remember now why I don't like the bedroom, no temperature control. Attempt to put her in pram as last resort, she just mucks around again, end up yelling, feel really bad now
    9.30 Finally asleep! Leave room for cuppa
    9.35 Woke up, sitting up and crying. Wont settle- I give up bring her back to lounge, she is no longer upset, keep lights off, just sit at computer with quiet music, offer BF, not that interested. Sit against chest and jiggle, finally asleep
    9:55 put in cot, no music this time. :sleeping:

    Notes: Dr thinks she does not have thrush, but I am not so sure. Thinking now that after a really bad day for naps, that it may have been too much to try to get her to sleep in the bedroom.

    Really need shower now.

  18. #18

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    Astrid, do you have a Hug-A-Bub or am I mixing it up? If so, have you tried settling her in that? Have you tried hiring a hammock? Maybe try some alternative settling?

    It might seem like there is no end in sight now, but keep doing the same thing over, so one day it will just click with her... 'aha! I have a shower and then it's time for bed..' etc...

    When she's in the cot and 'protests' (can't help but think of a certain someone with that word!!) what do you mean? Elijah will sometimes have a grizzle at me but I try and distract him, point at things on his bedding, sing, chat - and then he's forgotten all about it and lies down. Perhaps you could try seeing if you can get past a protest if it's not hysterical? I never leave Elijah - I just sit there with quiet soothing words, pat, talk, sometimes if he's really upset we come out and try again later.
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    Follow me in 2015 as I go Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team and many wonderful members who have been so supportive since 2003.

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