Baby Bedtime Routine Ideas

Getting your baby into a bedtime routine can help you both get more sleep and is worth every effort. Although it may take time for your baby to recognize the pattern, consistency is the key to establishing a bedtime routine that truly helps your baby settle into bedtime and fall asleep. Here are some ideas to incorporate into your bedtime routine.

Bath time

A warm bath can help relax your baby and ease into bedtime. Gently massaging baby while cleaning can help calm them and using a bedtime lotion, like lavender, could also be helpful. In time baby will start to associate bathtime with bedtime and it will help him/her wind down.

Brush teeth

Long before your baby even has teeth you can prepare him/her for success by establishing a routine of gently wiping the gums. As teeth start coming in, you can use a gentle toothbrush and baby toothpaste or gel to keep them clean. Starting as young as possible will make this a regular habit your baby expects and maintains.

Story

Bedtime stories and songs become childhood memories and traditions. Choose a bedtime story with imagery that will captivate your baby but also has a sweet message. In time your baby will recognize and show excitement when shown this book, and likely continue asking for it and reading it as he/she grows. This also helps establish a positive relationship with reading that can help encourage literacy as baby grows. My babies both love the book, “I love you, stinky face”. When they were really little I would simply point out the images and colors, and maybe read or paraphrase the pages, but as they grew and I read the story to them they grew to love it and request it.

Song

Sing the same song or couple of songs every night. You will be surprised how early babies recognize songs, tunes, and patterns.

I worked as the music teacher at a child development center and sang, “This little light of mine,” to every class, every week, including the infant class. After only a few months, they would smile after only hearing a few words of the song, and by the time they were 1-year old, they would hold their fingers up, cover them, blow them out, and say “light” or other words along with me as I sang. Music is a source of comfort and familiarity so it won’t be long until those songs become a source of comfort for your baby, which they may very well remember their whole lives.

Do you still remember the songs your parents sang to you as a child? What do you incorporate into your baby’s bedtime routine?

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Ways to Keep Baby Bottles and Accessories Clean

I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit of a germaphobe. This was especially true when I had my babies, and when I needed to learn how to sanitize their bottles and binkies. So today, I’m sharing some tips straight from the CDC on ways to keep baby bottles and accessories clean. Let’s dig in…

In the Dishwasher

Check the packaging of your baby’s bottles and pacifiers to see if they are dishwasher safe. Most items tend to be dishwasher safe only on the top rack, so be aware of that when you’re loading the dishwasher. The CDC recommends that you take all of the components apart and rinse them before loading them into the dishwasher. When you load them into the dishwasher, place smaller items into a basket like this so they don’t end up at the bottom of the dishwasher. And run the dishwasher using hot water and a heated drying cycle. Wash your hands with soap and warm water before unloading the items. If they’re not completely dry, lay them on a clean, dry towel to air dry.

By Hand

If you’re washing baby bottles by hand, make sure you wash your hands well before beginning. Separate the bottle parts and rinse them individually under running water. Don’t set them down in the sink. Fill a clean container (that you’re using only to clean the bottle parts and accessories) with hot water and soap, and place items directly in the container. Scrub items using a clean brush (that is also only used to clean your baby accessories). Squeeze water through nipple holes to ensure that the holes get clean. Rinse again under running water, and allow parts to air-dry. Then clean the container and the brush by washing them by hand or putting them into the dishwasher.

When in Doubt, Sanitize

Sanitizing feeding items once a day can ensure that items stay super clean. (This is only necessary if you haven’t washed the items in a dishwasher with hot water and the heated dry setting.) Sanitize items after they’ve been washed by one of the above methods, and check with the item’s manufacturer about which of the following methods you should use to further sanitize your accessories:

1. Boil
Place items into a pot and cover with water, and bring water to a boil. Boil for five minutes and remove items with clean tongs.

2. Steam 
Place disassembled items in the microwave or a plug-in steam system (like this) and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for sanitizing, cooling and drying the items.

3. Bleach
Prepare a bleach solution of one teaspoon of unscented bleach per gallon or water in a clean wash basin. Submerge items completely, checking that the solution covers all parts and there are no air bubbles in the bottles or pacifiers. Squeeze solution through the nipple holes, and soak for at least two minutes. Remove with tongs or washed hands. Do not rinse the items; any remaining bleach will break down as it dries. Allow all items to dry completely before storing.

Store Safely

As mentioned above, let all of your bottle accessories, bottle brushes and washing containers air-dry completely before putting them away. With clean hands, put all components back together. Place all reassembled items in a protected, clean area like a closed kitchen cabinet used to store clean dishes or that has been specifically designated to hold all clean baby bottles and accessories.

 

 

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Essential Items for Your Newborn Baby

There is no shortage of options when it comes to products for babies. With so many products and different versions of products to choose from, it can be difficult to sort through it all and focus on products you really need, as opposed to products that are more of a convenience or luxury. To help you prioritize your list, here are some essential items for your newborn baby.

  • Safe Car Seat

Did you know that car seats have expiration dates? I didn’t until I was pregnant. While it may be tempting to go second-hand with a car seat because of the price tag, investing in a reliable and sturdy car seat can be a lifesaving decision. Don’t forget to research how to install it properly, and have it inspected by a car seat installation technician.

  • Cradle or Bassinet

The newborn phase is often called the 4th trimester because babies are changing and developing so quickly as they adapt to life outside the womb. It’s very important that babies stay close to their mothers during this time to help the transition, so purchasing a cradle or bassinet to use during this time is important before moving them to their own room. Even adults have a hard time moving or adjusting to change, so it would make sense that a tiny baby would also find it difficult to adjust from being in a warm, cozy, familiar environment to a colder, open, louder environment. Having a bassinet in your room will make night-time feedings much easier, also, and allow you to bond with your baby as you learn his/her sounds, movements, and emotions.

  • Swaddle blankets

Similar to the logic behind a cradle or bassinet, newborn babies love to be swaddled up tight and held close. Stretchy, soft swaddle blankets help calm and comfort your baby when he/she is distressed. They are also helpful for tummy time and using as a burp-rag in a pinch. Swaddle blankets made out of muslin fabric have grown in popularity for their stretchiness and comfort.

  • Baby carrier

Across all cultures and around the globe, women have relied on baby carriers to help them complete their tasks while keeping baby close. When a newborn baby wants to be held close but there is work to be done, a baby carrier is the solution. There are so many brands and styles to choose from, and you can often find baby carrier groups where you can try out different styles that work for you. I personally used both a wrap and a more-structured carrier, and they are an absolute necessity.

  • Stroller

A stroller is also a must-have to navigate outings with a baby. From malls, zoos, airports, etc. a new mom would quickly wear herself out carrying her baby as well as a diaper bag and all equipment for long periods of time. A jogging stroller,specifically, has been my must-have. It is a smoother ride, can go on a variety of terrain, and is very agile when steering.

  • Baby Monitor

Being a new parent, you will find that bringing home a tiny baby can be a little overwhelming. Many parents enjoy using a baby monitor to help ease their minds and bring peace of mind, especially when nap time or night time comes around. With the increase in baby tech, the baby monitor options are endless.

What were your newborn must-haves?

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Breastfeeding Wardrobe Staples

Breastfeeding often means doing a lot of maneuvering with your clothing to get everything positioned just right, which isn’t always easy with some styles of clothing. Whether you’re on the go or lounging at home, here are some staples of a functional breastfeeding wardrobe to help nursing or pumping for your little one a seamless process.

Flowy tunics

The loose-fitting top trend is a huge benefit to nursing moms. Long, loose tunics give you easy access from the bottom of your shirt, and many of mine were even long and loose enough to act as a cover on their own. You don’t have to buy nursing-specific tops, either. I found many of mine online, like this Relaxed Luxe Tunic from Old Navy.

Wrap dresses

I’m not nursing anymore, but my favorite dress is still a wrap-dress I bought when I was nursing my son. It’s so flattering, even as my curves have widened over the years, and makes it easy to pull down the top to nurse or pump. This is the exact dress from Viva La Jewels, and it comes in several colors and a knee-length option as opposed to a full maxi-length dress.

Button-down shirts

When you’re going for a more business-casual look, button-down shirts are the perfect choice for nursing or pumping mamas. I like these relaxed-fit button-down shirts from Old Navy. They could easily be dressed up with a blazer or cardigan, or worn as-is.

Nursing camisoles

Finding a good nursing cami with support and coverage can be difficult, but this one from A Pea in the Pod has great reviews. With built-in cups and a variety of colors, these seem to be one of the best options. Many reviewers say it easily hides leaks, and the support is enough to replace a bra! I’d call that a win!

Reusable nursing pads

Reusable nursing pads are an eco-friendly option that is also safer for your skin than disposable nursing pads. They also have a better reputation for completely absorbing leakage. These Bamboobies Washing Nursing Pads from Target have OUTSTANDING reviews and come in a daytime or nighttime version. Even the daytime pads, which are lighter, have impeccable reviews for being super-absorbent and many reviewers have found they don’t cause skin irritation like disposable pads. Wearing these every day and keeping some of these on hand in your purse is a must during your nursing and pumping days.

What are some staples of your breastfeeding wardrobe?

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