"The worst feature of a new baby is its mother's singing." — Kin Hubbard
For the first month, in the evenings Jacob would usually start crying around 6pm, and it wouldn’t stop until about 11pm. I would dread the evenings because they were total chaos. His loud shrieks would send me into desperation. I needed quiet. I needed to breathe. I needed to find out how to make him stop crying or I’d go crazy.
The doctor pretty much told me to tough it out because there wasn’t much that could be done. She explained that in the first few months, a baby’s digestive system is still developing so after all the feedings in the day, gas can build up and give them a tummy ache in the evening. She suggested a warm bath and massage to relax his muscles. At least it was something I could try.
The second I put Jacob in the warm water the crying stopped. Silence. Beautiful, merciful, wonderful silence. After letting him soak for about ten minutes I took him out. I laid him on a fluffy blanket and began to massage him with baby oil. Then he peed on me. I learned to diaper him first and then massage him.
He was so calm. I massaged and massaged. As I was gently rubbing his belly, our blissful and quiet time together was interrupted by the sound of trumpets. That’s what his farts sounded like, music to my ears – my baby was getting some relief.
I noticed he was getting sleepy. So I put him in his jammies and gave him a bottle. While burping him he was starting to fall asleep. It was 9pm and he wasn’t crying and was falling asleep. This was too good to be true. I put him in his bassinet. And he slept. And slept. And slept.
From that day on, we bathed and massaged him every night. He began to expect it. When I’d lay him down on the fluffy blanket to undress him, he’d kick his legs out in excitement. His thrill reminded me of how our dog Chester gets when we grab the leash for a walk.
He’s six months today, and the routine is our blessing. We both look forward to it now. For me, it signals my wind down time approaching. For him, it signals bedtime. He doesn’t fight it, he actually looks forward to it (obviously this may change when he’s a toddler and may protest bedtime, so I’m enjoying this while I can). As I walk into his room he cradles his little head into my neck, already getting sleepy.
Although some moms might disagree with my method, I rock him to sleep. It’s my favorite time of the day. We’re both so relaxed and just gaze into each other’s eyes until he starts to drift off. When I put him in the crib, I kiss his little forehead. He usually wakes up, smiles, turns his head and goes to sleep. It’s such a special little moment for me.
I’ve learned that babies thrive with a routine. They like to know what’s going to happen next. And that makes sense. We all like to have some idea of how our day will play out as adults, don’t we? Why would a little baby be any different?
Sometimes the routine is thrown out the window, like during the holidays when there’s visiting and celebrating going on, but he falls right back into it once things settle down.
What are your bedtime routines? Any techniques you’d like to share?
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