Updated October 3, 2019
Now that we have a new baby in the house, bedtime certainly looks a lot different! Greg and I are officially outnumbered by children, and sleep is different than it used to be. It’s been a while since we’ve had a small infant in this house, and boy what changes they bring not only to your life but to your sleep.
The school year is in full swing and a solid routine is the name of the game. Kennedy is now in second grade and Caroline is in kindergarten. Between after school activities, dinner, homework, household responsibilities, and a new baby, there are a lot of moving parts. With our girls, we make sure to encourage independence and have them be in charge of what we can hand over to them. Greg and I will divide and conquer to get everyone settled down for the evening. Here’s what a typical night at our home looks like around bedtime!
Our Bedtime Routine with a Newborn and School-Aged Kids
After dinner: The girls will help pick up any toys or finish any homework/assigned reading from school. We then give them a 10 minute warning for bath time.
Big Kid Bath time: You get a bath, and you get a bath! Everyone gets a bath! We escort the girls upstairs where they will shower themselves, along with brush their teeth and put on their own pajamas. Independence is absolutely key right here, and we have been working on bedtime independence all summer in preparation for new baby. Luckily, Kennedy and Caroline have been doing a great job at getting themselves showered and dressed in their pajamas. There are some pretty good perks to having older kids with a baby – they’re much more self-sufficient! However, let’s not kid ourselves – this can be pretty chaotic!
Baby Bath Time: On the nights Logan needs a bath, we will set his newborn bathtub in the sink and bathe him as one of his sisters is showering. We can monitor a sister and also give the baby his bath. As of now, Logan doesn’t care for baths very much and will often cry through them – it adds to the chaotic ambiance of group bath time.
Down Time: Right before bed, we will have a little down time together as a family. Sometimes the girls will play, sometimes we will watch a little TV.
Baby Quiet Time: Either Greg or I will make sure to help Logan settle down for the day (sometimes his big sisters can be a little overstimulating!). We will usually take him in his nursery away from noise and distraction and rock him or read him a book.
Big Kid Bed Time: Once it’s time for the girls to go to bed (their bedtime is 8:30 on school nights), we go to their room for prayers and lullabies. This is where we divide and conquer. Greg has been taking the girls to bed while I nurse and put the baby to bed. We’re thankful for how easy bedtime typically is for the girls.
Baby’s Bedtime Feeding: Logan will get his bedtime nursing session right before it’s time to put him to bed. I have been trying to get him down between 8:30 and 9:00 at this age, and we will probably do an earlier bedtime when he gets a little older. Babies’ sleep patterns change so much, so we will adjust based on his age and development.
Swaddle & Sleep Safety: After Logan is fed and while he’s drowsy, I will place his Levana Oma Sense Monitor on his diaper or pajamas and swaddle him in a velcro swaddle blanket. Sleep safety is really important to us so we make sure to have an age-appropriate swaddle blanket and use a product like the Levana Oma Sense Monitor to ensure he is safe. He is currently sleeping in a bedside bassinet in our room so that he’s only a few feet away.
Nighttime Feedings: As of right now, Logan wakes up 2 times during the night for a feeding. I will typically keep him in his swaddle (unless if he needs a diaper change), make sure to not turn on any lights, and speak very softly to him. Doing all of that is helping him not mix up night and day time. It’s working as of now – who knows how well he’ll do with sleep in a few months! Haha.
Peace of Mind
Like I mentioned before, it’s been a while since we’ve had a baby in our home. Kennedy is 7.5 and Caroline is 5, and there are so many new innovative baby items that have come out since then.
One in particular that we love is our Levana Oma Sense Monitor. It’s not a traditional baby monitor in the sense that there’s a camera on your baby. It is a smart little device that monitors baby’s movements and breathing simply by clipping onto their clothes or diaper. It will stimulate baby with vibrations and alert you if it detects no movement. This is a great product to have in addition to a video monitor, especially if baby sleeps in a different room.
I really like the simplicity of this monitor. No cords to mess with, no apps to download, and you don’t even have to charge the device (just replace the battery, which lasts a very long time)! Turn it on, clip it to baby’s clothes/diaper and you’re good to go.
How I wish something like this existed when my older two kids were babies! Those newborn days are stressful enough, and sleep is precious for the whole family. If my baby slept longer than usual, I would immediately be worried that she wasn’t breathing. It’s a vicious cycle that ends up making you lose sleep when you should be getting in as much rest as you can.
Luckily, the Oma Sense Monitor gives us peace of mind during the evenings and for extended nap times. If you’re a new or expecting mama, you’ll definitely want to get your hands on this device! Get yourself Oma Sense Monitor, and you can use my code MEGO20 at check out for an additional $20 off!
I’m so glad we have this monitor for Logan! Anything to give a mama peace of mind and a smoother evening routine is worth every single penny, in my opinion!
More Tips for Smoother Routines
Before I close out this blog post, I wanted to share a couple of tips we think that really help morning and evening routines go smoother.
- Get your baby on a loose routine. You’re definitely going to want to respond to baby’s cues as a newborn and not be regimented, but babies really do thrive on predictability and routines. Don’t be hard on yourself if life is crazy and a routine is impossible, though! I’ve been implementing a loose E.A.S.Y. (eat, awake, sleep, you time) schedule with Logan (google it to get some more research). It involves a pattern of eating, awake time, then sleep time. I try to make sure that he gets enough naps during the day so he is not overtired in the evening. It sounds counterintuitive but it really does make for easier evenings!
- Prep the night before. That could mean making lunches, setting out backpacks, etc. If baby is going to daycare or a babysitter, have all of the bottle parts and milk/food ready in the fridge to grab and go, as well.
- Set out the entire week’s worth of school outfits. It gives older kids more responsibility and independence of getting dressed and ready on their own.
- Do laundry loads by person. No more sorting or getting clothing items mixed up. I will wash each child’s clothes separately, including the baby’s. It makes putting laundry away so much easier and quicker!
- Set up a diaper station close to where you’ll be hanging out the most with your newborn. Logan’s nursery is upstairs but we have something set up downstairs to make changes easier and routines go much more quickly.
What does the bedtime routine look like in your house?