Sleep and children are like pizza and ice cream; we love them both but put together, they’re pretty much incompatible! In our house in recent months – particularly since we moved – our sleep routine has been pretty erratic from one night to the next. I can never tell what kind of night is ahead of us which, at the moment, hasn’t really bothered Ayman and I so much but as we draw closer to the new baby’s arrival I know it’s something we’re going to have to try and get to grips with.
The root of our predicament is that we do Hugo’s sleep routine in our bedroom which of late has led to Hugo sleeping in between us – especially since our new superking-sized bed arrived at the start of January giving us all enough room to spread out! One negative that I’ll admit to is that we haven’t helped Hugo have good association with his cot because we’ve kind of (I hate saying this but I’m sure we’ve all done it in some way) used the blackmail method of telling him to behave or he’ll ‘have to go in the cot’ because we know he’d rather stay in our bed. Gosh I feel so bad in saying this as I totally know I’ve created a rod for my own back. I’m so determined to turn this around mainly because I fear if he was still in our bed when the new baby is here, he would wake him in the night and I want Hugo to continue to have a good and restful night’s sleep because this ultimately results in a much happier Hugo the next day :).
Okay, so how do I turn this negative sleep association to his room into a good association in less than four weeks before our new baby arrives?
-1- We’ve bought a new ‘big boy’ bed that is extra special and fun for him to be in (it’s like a big den) and tried to create excitement around it
-2- We’re doing the full bedtime routine in his bedroom instead of ours
-3- We’ll help him settle in his bed with him
-4- Trial the new Johnson’s Bedtime app alongside their 3 step bedtime routine which consists of bath, massage and quiet time which is supposed to have great results after just one week. Plus, the app is totally FREE!
-5- If he wakes in the night and comes into our room, settle him back into his bed instead of letting him into ours again. Easier said than done when you’re an overtired parent and heavily pregnant – but we’ll do our best to stick with the plan!
-6- Be persistent and work together as a team if you have a partner 🙂
My end goal is to be able to leave Hugo to fall asleep without one of us having to be present next to him. For me I feel that this will give him more comfort when he wakes in the night to know for himself that he’s ok and safe and that we’re still close by in the next room.
So, one step at a time and we’ll crack it. There’s already been so much change for this little guy already with moving house and nursery in the last couple of months!
In relation to Step 1, you may have seen via my Instagram that Hugo’s new bed arrived last week and to our surprise it was more like a double bed instead of a single bed, oops! Totally my fault as that’s what I ordered without doing any measurements – ‘silly Mummy’ as Hugo would say haha – but he absolutely loves it as you can imagine! He can pretty much run around on it and was in his element jumping up and down. Will probably end up being one of the best mistakes I could have made! As soon as his new bed was up I knew it was the right time to trial the aforementioned Johnson’s Bedtime Baby Sleep app. Before I get to it, I just want to be open and honest with you about this as I sometimes feel there’s a stigma attached to bloggers when they’ve collaborated with or been sponsored by a certain brand. Just to re-iterate, I only blog about products/services that I truly love, would genuinely use, and would legitimately recommend to others and this has been something that I’ve already excitedly shared with anyone I know with a young child including my very own sister!
It was if by a miracle and an answer to a prayer that Johnson’s contacted me about this new free app they’ve launched asking if I’d be interested in trying it out and to help spread the word if I liked it. After downloading it and playing around on the app, it didn’t take long to realise it’s a nifty little thing and clearly a lot of time and effort has gone into it. It was pretty apparent that it would not only benefit my family but other families out there with young children or babies. So of course I said ‘Yes, absolutely and thank you so much for thinking of me because it’s come at the most perfect time for me!’.
I am genuinely excited to share with you how this little app has been so helpful in creating a much more relaxed bedtime routine for us all as a family – especially Hugo.
So as mentioned above the main routine consists of a bath, massage and quiet time (for more details of the benefits and advice on each of these please click on the links in red). Quiet time for us is reading a book, by the way. The app allows you to customise your routine adding and extracting things as you go along. Not only that but you can also analyse your child’s sleep pattern; it does this by asking you a host of questions relating to your child’s sleep when you first download the app which will then offer you customised advice to hopefully help you along the way to a better night’s sleep for you and your child.
What have been the benefits of trialling the app for a week?
It feels like it hasn’t just helped Hugo get into a routine but also us as parents, dedicating a full hour to ‘just Hugo’ in preparing him for a good night’s sleep.
Hugo knows what to expect and because of that seems more secure at bedtime.
He also seems to be a lot more relaxed and ready to go to sleep at a more normal bedtime hour – I think it was the fourth or fifth night of the routine where his massage had finished and he sat up, grabbed his book and walked towards his bedroom saying ‘Come on Mummy and Daddy’ – heart-melting! And of course, the upshot of all this is that he gets a good night’s sleep and us parents get more of an evening together!
I have to admit the only thing I haven’t religiously stuck to is giving Hugo a bath every night. There’s a couple of reasons why; one is because he has a bit of eczema so it’s actually advised not to bath every day to allow the natural oils in his skin to build up, and two; our bath is quite big and needs a lot of filling up so when we’re running a little behind schedule I will skip straight to the massage. It’s funny because I used to do quite a bit of baby massage when he was younger and for some reason just stopped doing it… not really sure why to be honest, however after a couple of nights Hugo really made me smile. He climbed on his bed whilst I was getting his pyjamas out, lay on his tummy and said ‘mummy put cream on’. Clearly enjoying his nightly massages! I never anticipated that the routine would have such an instant impression on him. One other thing to mention is that the app also includes a gorgeous playlist of dreamy lullabies and you can hit repeat and select specific lullabies you want to listen to. We’d put these on once we’d finished reading to him and leave them playing until he had drifted off. There’s also some ambient sounds to choose from which are perfect for new-borns too. I remember Hugo really settling well to white noise sounds in the first six months or so and I’ll certainly be using this app for our new little arrival too.
After a week of trialling this app I feel like we’ve made real progress in breaking down the sleep defence barrier and my main objective of getting Hugo settled in his own bedroom and new bed is showing early signs of success. He’s had a few slightly restless moments but I think that’s because he’s had a cough which has caused him to wake a few times in the night. There was one night where I opened my eyes in near enough total darkness to vaguely see this little figure standing there right next to me! Bless him; he’d just tottered over in the middle of night and wanted to get in – but on the whole he’s been able to settle back down in his own bed with a little love and attention from one of us. We’re still not at the stage yet where I can put him to bed and leave him awake to drift off on his own accord but as parents we’re OK with that as it’s one step at a time. I’m sure this will come in the future but for now we’ll enjoy all the cuddles as they’re only little once. We have definitely found that he’s drifted off into dreamland quicker on a more regular basis; whether that’s down to the lullabies or the routine as a whole I’m not sure. It’s just become a lovely enjoyable process and it’s so nice having that one-on-one downtime together before he goes to sleep.
As with anything I think it’s really important as parents that you take and extract anything that works for you. Don’t put yourself under too much pressure to do what you think everyone else is doing but do what you know in your heart is right for you and your baby. Every child is different and above all you know your child better than anyone else so trust your own natural instincts.
I feel like I could go on about this app but you should check it out for yourself to see all of the other fab features it offers. It’s totally free and if you do decide to give it a whirl, I would absolutely LOVE to hear what you think… good or bad… feel free to leave a message below. I really hope you find it useful and even if you’re just curious, it’s certainly worth a nosey when there’s no cost involved. I’m especially grateful for it and honestly think it’s a fabulous app for parents to use :).
Thanks so much for your time, as ever! I hope you enjoyed the post and took from it whatever you need.
With special thanks to Johnson’s for sponsoring this post and giving me this amazing opportunity to trial this super app. All thoughts and opinions are always my own.
This outtake makes me smile so much just when I thought he was falling asleep he had other ideas haha.