We read that pretty early on a bedtime routine, and routine in general, were good for babies. It helps them to feel calm, safe and protected going through the same structure day in and day out. So once we started to set a regular bed time for Molly (around 4 months) we decided to put together a bedtime routine that would help her wind down and get ready for sleep. Fast forward to now and at 18 months old we are still practicing the same bed time routine. Is that good or bad?
Bath time at 7:30 following dinner
Lotion, diaper, pjs, brush hair
Dad reads 2 books while I rock and snuggle with her and she finishes off her milk
Books done, lights out
I stay in the room and sing to her and rock her
I get her basically asleep, say a prayer and good night and lay her down in her crib
*Note: between lights out and down in crib is usually 10 minutes
Like I said, this was the exact same routine that we created when Molly was around 4 months old. A few minor things have changed like bottles vs sippy cups, length of singing and rocking but for the most part its identical.
I have begun to wonder when, and if ever, we will be able to just put her in her crib together, say our good nights and then walk out and turn off the light. I am afraid that we might have created too much dependence on the rocking and singing and now she will need it FOREVER! I know, that is a little exaggerated, I hope, but transitions are always hard and despite what some people think children need to be taught. She isn't just going to decide, "okay, just put me down now. I am done with rocking."
I keep coming back to that scene in American Pie Reunion where the Mom is bouncing her son, who is at least 4 years old, to bed. Please don't let that be me!
Does anybody else have experience with this? What is your bedtime routine? Still rocking your little one to sleep?