my baby is almost 8 months old and i am starting to think about creating a nighttime ritual for him.
dad usually gets home from work anytime between 8:30 and 9:30. we are bed-sharing and my son nurses to sleep. until recently, he would take his last evening nap at around 7 or 8, and then go to sleep for the night around 9:45 or 10. this was working really well because it gave him and dad a chance to see each other before bed, and we would be able to eat dinner together. i would go to sleep with the baby since i would inevitably fall asleep while nursing.
now, baby is starting to have total meltdowns at around 9:30, and it's taking me nursing plus bouncing/walking, plus nursing again to get him to sleep - i know this is because he is getting tired earlier & we're keeping him up too late. right now i am uncomfortable leaving him alone after he's fallen asleep (we have an arm's reach cosleeper set up, but now he can pull up/climb out of it/roll over/crawl, and it's not safe. it will be another week or two until we are able to get a crib from ikea), so i'm still going to bed with him. however, i am longing for the day that we are able to get a crib and put him down, at least for the first stretch of the night, in it! i'd like to spend the next week or two until we can get a crib creating a bedtime ritual, to help make the transition a little smoother, but with dad coming home right in the middle of whatever routine we'd set up, i'm having a hard time figuring out what to do. we usually do baths earlier in the evening, since i want to make dinner later, to still be warm at 9ish for dad. is a simple "special" diaper change routine enough, do you think? nighttime diaper, pjs, maybe a face wash and a book in the bedroom before nursing?
for the record, up until now, he has always taken a majority of his naps on me - he would nurse to sleep and wake up EVERY TIME i moved him. and not "awake and will fall back to sleep with some help" - AWAKE AWAKE. we are working on that issue right now and i've been having success with moving him from nursing to napping alone on a mat on the floor (again, no crib yet). i'm hoping that getting him better at napping will help with the nighttime transition. i will not let him cry it out. i WILL let him fuss and complain and be angry for 5, 10, 15 minutes, but once it turns into true distress i come to his aid.
anyway, i'm sure i'm overthinking this because this is the first time in his life that things have "stopped working" for all of us - as much as i'd LOVE to continue full-time bedsharing, we only have a full size bed, putting it on the floor is not an option, and honestly all three of us are craving more space. plus i am super excited about taking advantage of an earlier bedtime to have mom-and-dad time after the kid goes to sleep. i guess i'm just asking for advice on transitioning to the crib & if anyone has had experience with creating a bedtime routine with a disruption of dad coming home right in the middle of it.
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