I must have spent months fiddling around with our bedtime routine, consulting the books, reading websites, the lot. All in the hope that a good routine = a speedy, peaceful bedtime. Ha. To start with, Loudboy would take ages to drop off, feeding a bit, wriggling a bit, eyes closing and then wham! wide awake again. It could take up to 2 hours.
Then he learnt to crawl and pull himself up to standing – cue more gymnastics before bed. So eventually I ditched the ‘ideal’ routine and went with what he obviously wanted to do. So now our routine runs as follows:
An hour before bedtime, I take him into the bedroom and give him a feed. At this stage he is usually rubbing his eyes and being a bit cranky. Now the books would have you believe that he is ready for bed. WRONG.
After a long feed, he gets his second wind and crawls around the bed, pulling himself up on the bedstead, grabbing books off the shelves, fishing clothes out of the drawers and generally creating a nice chaotic environment. I read a couple of books, he giggles a lot and occasionally has a quick feed.
The he gradually winds down, but keeps moving and feeding. Eventually he starts laying down on the bed, then bouncing up again and moving off. Finally, he lies down and goes to sleep. I wait until he’s sound asleep (yes, I know, but putting him in the cot awake means at least another 1/2 hour of bouncing about) then put him in the cot.
I’ve accepted that he needs this time to wind down in a quiet room. Moving his bedtime later just makes him more cranky and harder to put to sleep. Oh, and we’ve ditched the bedtime bath because he’s decided he’s scared of water. They do like to keep you on your toes, don’t they?