Bedtime used to be a horrific affair.
At around three weeks old, once Frog “woke up” from her newborn slumber, she decided she didn’t much want to sleep at bedtime. She’d rather stay awake sobbing while her mother jiggled her around, tightly wrapped up in the fleece (and now nicknamed) magic blanket.
Baths were a nightly occurrence from the age of 1 day and 6 hours. Stories entered the equation a few months later. But the tears, oh the tears stayed around a good while longer.
If I could go back and revisit the me of this time last year, I’d shake her by the shoulders and tell her, “Don’t stress about it. Your baby will get the hang of bedtime eventually”. All that time worrying she’d need the nightly placatory boob sessions to get to sleep – what wasted time.
Frog is now 15 months old. She still has a bath and a bedtime story (her current favourite is Peace At Last), followed by some milk and a cuddle with Primark’s very best blanket of magicness. And then she goes to sleep. In her cot. Simples.
I know it’s not the same for everyone. I recently wrote an article about sleep and found out something like 50 percent of children in the UK still struggle with sleeping through the night at the age of two. And don’t get me wrong, we’re occasionally among that 50 percent, if Frog is teething or grumpy about some other mystery ailment. But on the whole, bedtime is now a predictably laid back affair, apart from the obligatory tears at being made to wear pyjamas to bed.
Of course I’ll never know if this is because we’ve done pretty much the same thing at bedtime since our daughter was one day old, or if it’s because we’ve been lucky and have finally been blessed with a “good sleeper”. I expect it’s the latter – as I’m loathe to take any credit for those “good” behavioural traits (it means I’d have to accept responsibility for the “bad” ones when clearly my daughter’s diva streak is nothing to do with me).
But I know if we do have more children I’ll try and stick to the same bedtime formulae of bath, story, milk, sleep. It’s worked this time and hopefully it’ll work again.
So what do you do to make bedtime as stress free as possible? What would you do differently if you could step back a year and begin from scratch? You never know, maybe it’ll encourage me to mix it up a bit and try something new. But I doubt it.