How to create a soothing bedtime routine... and why you'll thank yourself later

If you've been a parent for any length of time, you've probably heard the term "witching hour". The witching hour is a term coined for a time period in the evening where a baby gets very fussy and is seemingly inconsolable. The time period can be a little different depending on the baby, but it is typically between 6 and 10pm. For our son, it's almost always 7pm like clock work. After just a few nights of it you start to panic and check the clock hoping when 7pm roles around he doesn't get the memo and continues to be the happy baby he typically is. But sadly, that dream is typically short lived. And while this may be a phase that you cannot completely avoid (don't worry, mom, it'll pass after a few short months), there are some things you can do to help keep baby as calm as possible.

For Brennan, having a nighttime routine of a few calming activities has worked wonders. When I first stumbled upon this idea in a few blog posts, I dismissed it thinking that a 5 week old baby probably has no need for a bedtime routine yet. I can add that to the list of things I was wrong about when entering motherhood for the first time. After a few nights of hours long sobbing fits (from me and Brennan both), I decided to rethink the calming bedtime routine and give it a try. I did some research and found that babies, even as young as 5 weeks old, benefit from being on a loose schedule. We've been using this schedule (see below) for a couple of weeks now and I can happily report that while he is still a little fussier in the evenings, we've made significant process and he is sleeping *much* better during the night, too. So if you are starting to wonder if you are going to make it through this phase, do yourself a favor and try it out!

So here's our nightly bedtime routine! This isn't an exact science and it should reflect the parent's typical schedule so be sure to adapt it to fit your families needs!

700- feed

745- bathtime

800- dress and swaddle

830- read a book or sing

845- feed

915- lay down sleepy, but not completely asleep

Of course, it's not going to be quite that precise every night, but it helps give you an idea of how to create your own soothing bedtime routine. Now go try it out and enjoy that extra sleep, momma!