Our Bedtime Routine & Thoughts On Sleep.

We have recently been interviewed for a Podcast on Sleep, which you can listen to here.
Our episode is the one No.4 on Co-sleeping. This brought to my mind that it might be worth sharing more about our personal sleep scenario. Hint: We are BIG on snuggles over here.

Why Rhytymn is important
Having a baby was the perfect lesson to understand how vital daily rhythms and routines are for the sanity of the whole family. At the same time, I was very gentle and flexible with our routines.
I wasn't worried about routine for the first few months after Faye's birth AT ALL. Faye breastfed whenever she needed and slept whenever she was tired that was it. And it worked beautifully as we were all very relaxed about it and didn't expect her to do anything at a particular time. We are also co-sleeping which is very handy when breastfeeding and has helped all of us to maximize our sleep and happiness. To have a routine and rhythm established every day is great as it helps little ones to know what comes next. There is lots of research that shows how children thrive on this predictability. They feel safe and this creates the environment for learning and growth. It also helps us to keep our days structured. It's not about doing the exact same thing at the same time every day, but rather about a flow of the day. Think: Dinner, brushing teeth, bath time, story time etc. A daily order.

Now she is 15months old. Her sleep times/naps have naturally changed about every three months, which I have heard before seems like the average pattern. I also believe that we are all unique and different and have different unique needs when it comes to sleep.
So this is not in any way another "sleep expert" advice on what you should or shouldn't do or a "schedule" as I don't believe in any of this.
( I know it might work for others and that is obviously fine) As long as your baby gets the total amount of hours needed at their age and is healthy and happy, it doesn't really matter at what time they get their sleep.

No Dramas
Personally, I find the more drama is created around the whole thing the more of a problem it becomes. We simply don't have a sleep problem in this family as we don't make it a problem
if that makes sense. We just accept that while we have a baby that sleep is to be expected to be interrupted here and there. In times of teething, we get some rough patches...and I remember how it was a challenge to put Faye to bed at night when she learned how to walk, she was just "Hyper" for a few weeks and too excited and busy to go to sleep.
We took it with humor, kept a soothing bedtime routine and eventually this passed. These days she actually really looks forward to going to bed, as she is very tired at the end of the day and I think she really enjoys our cozy routine in the evenings.

Eco/Toxin-free sleep environment
While we are in a small-ish rental apartment at the moment, we still make our place nice and most importantly toxin-free. Faye had a certified organic bubnest as a newborn and we have an eco mattress which is toxin free. It's quite important as regular mattresses and bedding can "off-gas" toxic fumes which have also been linked to the sudden infant death syndrome.
We love our organic sheets and bedding, our latest set in by American family business GRUND and really great quality. Super silky and smooth, these will last us a VERY long time.
You can see the sheets and beautiful throw in the images. (check out their beautiful Mandala rugs, I would love one for Faye's room...)

Faye went to one nap around the same time she learned to walk, around 10months. She kept a morning nap, as she is an early riser and then lasts for the rest of the day. I have always followed her own signs of tiredness and never "forced" a nap time.
Her nap is usually in her Montessori Floor Bed. I snuggle down with her and then leave the room when she is asleep. She then gets up by herself when she wakes up or she calls me over if she wants a bit of a cuddle before getting up.

Our whole bedtime/evening routine starts after dinner which is usually at 5 pm.
I will dim the lights and switch on her nightlight, diffuse a little Lavender Peace (DoTerra)
We get ours from DoTerra via The Soulful Mama, a fellow Sydney Mum.

Faye will have a bath, with toxin-free, organic baby products.
We use Weleda, Envirocare Earth and also pure coconut oil.
She still goes in her Stokke Bath Tub, within the big bath. She brushes her teeth, sings and plays with bath toys.

Time To Dance
If she is still energetic we will go into the lounge room and listen to a bit of music. She loves to dance. I choose uplifting, yet not too hectic music and usually end with a slow song. Somedays she wants to go to bed right after the bath. Faye is a pretty energetic and physical, so this gives a little more movement and she loves it.

Dreamy Essential Oils & Goodnight Stories
We wave all the rooms goodnight and then snuggle into our big bed together. I then give Faye a foot rub with some diluted Lavender Oil.
Depending on how tired she is we read one or two bedtime stories and then a nighttime feed and then she goes to sleep.
Depending on how tired she is we read one or two bedtime stories and then a nighttime feed and then she goes to sleep.

A restful night?
She sleeps from 6 pm to 6 am approximate. And yes, she does wake up in between.
When she is teething this can happen quite a lot. Otherwise, she sleeps very well.
For teething we also use an essential oil mix especially for teething, as recommended by our DoTerra expert which I roll along her jawline, it's a blend of Lavender & Siberian Fir.
Now don't ask me how many times she feeds at night or when. I wouldn't know as I am sleeping or in a half-asleep state. I don't get up, I don't check the time.
This is the beauty of co-sleeping and breastfeeding.

Why co-sleeping is right for us
This is what works beautifully for all of us and what feels right for all of us. I think that is the only thing that matters. I know families where their babies/toddlers happily sleep in their own bed or room and it works for them without crying or stresses.
Most people will have a baby in bed with them on one occasion or another and that is fine! In fact most cultures around the world co-sleep until adolescence and if everyone is happy, there is no harm being done.
I do not believe in "whatever works" because that can result in poor parenting choices (e.g. you can hit or yell at or manipulate your children and that might "work" but it's still not the right thing to do!) but I believe in "whatever feels right in your heart" and this is what feels right for us.

I hope this was helpful!? Please let me know any Questions that you might be having! xo