Please tell me your multiple dc bedtime routine...(34 Posts)
With one dc bedtime was easy but atm we need 2 parents to sort both dc simultaneously. At some point dh is going to need to work late or go for a beer or play sport or whatever and I'll need to do them both on my own but I can't see how it will work right now.
Can you share your toddler&baby combo routines so I can get ideas? For info dc are 2 and 2mths. Toddler routine is bath, book, bottle, asleep about 7.30pm. Baby routine is bottle, poo, puke, change, bottle, bed. Asleep about 8pm.
I can't help but am place marking as I will be you in the not too distant future!
When I had tiny baby/ies and DH worked away/antisocial hours, it was the only way I managed.
At the age your talking about, I always breastfeed the baby while reading toddlers/preschoolers books. Tuck in bigger dc, then focus lastly on babies (e.g., months of gradual withdrawal.
Now, as 10, 8, 7 and 5 yo, the have the same bed time. There is loads of piss farting around before hand, and then 10 mins spent with each dc in their bed. 7 and 5 yo asleep by 9, older dc read or colour/write quietly but stay up longer.
Key for us is the same night time despite age, we've kept it consistent over the years. Obviously they all wake up at different times.,
Baby routine is bottle, poo, puke, change, bottle, bed. Asleep about 8pm.
For an under 6 month old, I'd probably try and get that first bottle done before bedtime routine for DC1 starts. Then either move baby in a bouncy chair from room to room, or carry baby whilst putting toddler to bed.
Do bath time together if you are giving baths. But if it's only occassionally that you'll be doing bedtime solo, I'd slip baths on those nights.
Once toddler is in bed, then focus on baby.
Fate's right - if you're not doing it by yourself every night, don't stress about dropping elements of the usual routine. A good face, hand and bum wipe is fine in place of a bath some nights.
That said, I've actually found bath time can be a handy distraction if your eldest is big enough to sit by themselves in bath without much intervention (you in the bathroom, obviously!) - my eldest is now 2.11, baby is 6mo. I find bath can be s handy way to keep the big one contained - stick her in, undress baby then give baby a quick swish then dry and into PJs and feed sat on the loo, all the while DD1 is occupied and can't go anywhere!
A good tip I got when asked this question about five months ago was to make sure you've got everything you need upstairs so you don't need to run down.
YY to dealing with the elder one first and trying to feed baby during stories etc. Though this isn't always easy as it's that time of day when they get fussy, which I find can wind the big one up a bit.
if you've got family locally who might help them don't be afraid/embarrassed to get them over to help on nights when DH isn't there.
Finally, have a vague eye on what your longer-term bedtime goal is. E.g I want to get to the point where both have milk and stories together on the sofa. then get chucked (not literally!) in bed with a quick song amd cuddle and left to it. (The key being that it's then more manageable for one us to do solo.) We're now very, very slowly nudging towards that but with hindsight I wish I'd thought about that a bit sooner - DD2 was fed to sleep for ages, still has her last breastfeed in her room with low lights etc, which isn't ideal with an almost 3yo rampaging about!
I have erased it from memory, but I think in the early days I used to bath them both together, then I used to BF baby DS while reading to toddler DD? Then settle baby once toddler settled?
I now have three, 5 3 and 1 but when I had two aged newborn and two, I did the following:
- have toddler PJs / nappy ready in bedroom (and cup of milk if he has one etc)
- have baby PJs / nappy ready in bathroom,
- have a bouncy chair in bathroom and ideally also one in bedroom (or somewhere safe to put the baby, travel cot, moses, mat etc)
- while toddler eating tea, feed baby (I was BF)
- while bath running, toddler gets undressed (put baby in boucer or on mat in bathroom)
- toddler plays in bath, feed baby again
- undress baby and quickly dunk in bath, wash
- get baby out and dressed, put in bouncer / safe place
- get toddler out, wrap in towel. Either dress in PJs in bathroom, or take to bedroom and dress there
- I used to let the toddler watch 10 minutes of TV in my bedroom while I sat on the bed and fed the baby again, and toddler drinks milk
- all into toddler's bedroom, read stories. I used to do this with the baby in the bouncer, bouncing with my foot or if the baby was going batty with the baby in one arm and toddler under the other. This part was often quite stressful and most guilt inducing!
- once toddler was in bed I would deal with the baby. Depending on age that either meant cluster feeding (when v small) or BF then try and settle to sleep
At that age 2 year old was still in a cot bed so couldn't get out which was fine.
However when we went from 2 to 3, within a few months of #3 coming along, #2 had figured out how to climb out of cot bed so was in a toddler bed. That made everything a bit trickier as then you potentially have roaming toddler if they don't settle. I had help at bath times when #3 came along until the baby could reliably be put down at bedtime and settle - then I started putting the baby to bed first at about half 6 while the older two have some TV, then I do story time with the older two and bed.
It is hard. I still vividly remember the fear of bath time when I went from 1 to 2 children and was totally on my own (husband got home after bed time and we had no family or external help).
PS now they are 5, 3 and 1 - they all go in the bath together (and have done since #3 was maybe 2 months old), then the older two have TV while I BF the baby and put him to bed (takes about 5-10 minutes no more), then the older two have stories on the sofa, then into bed where I have 10 mins or so with each of them in their rooms.
Thanks that's really useful. Dd is very pukey so needs to be kept upright for ages after feeds so sounds like maybe i need to aim for doing both milk downstairs then bath and stories upstairs with either dd in the sling if she wants to sleep or joining in the bath if she's awake.
We don't have a routine for dd atm so her last feed and last sleep don't always line up so it sounds like I just need to tweak my ds routine to make it easier to slot dd in to whichever bits suits her on that particular day.
Good suggestion to work out what our eventual bedtime looks like and keep that in mind.
Part of me wants dh to just bugger off for a night and leave me to it to see if I can do it
DD1 was 19 months when DD2 was born and DH worked away a couple of nights a week from when she was 2 weeks old.
I generally tried to bath them both together, lay DD2 on a towel kicking her legs around while I got DD1 dressed and teeth brushed etc, then BF DD2 while reading stories to DD1/tucking in etc. Sometimes it was all calm and fine, sometimes it was a stressful scream fest but we got through it!
They're 3 and 19 months now and DH is still mainly away mon-fri and we're old pros! Cup of milk downstairs before bath for them both, bath together then to bed in the same room (they used to have a room each but it made reading stories etc more difficult so we put them in the same room), and they chat together until they're both asleep.
My youngest are the same age ish (19 months and 2 months).
I feed the baby and put in bouncy chair - dress toddler in pj's and read her a story downstairs, teeth brushing stuff is also downstairs so we do that and then the bsby stays in the chair for the few mins it takes to take the toddler up and put her into bed.
When I come back doend I change the baby and put into grobag and into basket to nod off in front room-goes up when we do.
I don't bath mine in the evening, that gets done earlier as it's too much faff at bedtime! I like it to be quick and simple!
I've a 3yr ok and a 15m old and hubby works away quite a bit. The routine has changed depending on the youngest age. To start I was bf the baby while putting the eldest to bed and then dealing with the baby. Now they both bath together then it's straight upstairs where ds1 has my iPad with tv or an audio book while I feed and settle ds2. Then I go back to ds1 and make sure his teeth are brushed, read him a quick story and give a cuddle.
Hi BigBlockofCheese! Good question. I remember panicking trying to work out how to cope with "fighting on two fronts" simultaneously... muddled through eventually and now it goes something like this...
Mine are 5, 3 & 4 months now. First I bath and sort out the baby. Then I put the bigger ones in the bath together and feed the baby. If I'm incredibly lucky, I then get the baby put down in his cot - this is the eventual plan but he's little for now, so if he doesn't settle I just cluster feed/have him tucked under one arm/lying next to me while I sort out the others.
Then sometimes 3 year old gets out of the bath first & I sort him out, read to him & put him to bed while 5 year old goes on playing with his Lego in the bath. Takes about 25 minutes. Then I go back & do the same with 5 year old.
Sometimes I get them out & read to them at the same time, but I quite like to give them a little bit of one-to-one time when I can, plus 5 year old is starting to get bored with picture books but 3 year old isn't ready for books without pictures. Plus 5 year old takes a little bit longer to fall asleep and since they share a room he sometimes keeps 3 year old awake being silly if they go to bed at the same time, but if 3 year old is already sleep he settles quicker.
Then I attempt to put the baby to bed.......
On a normal day, big ones go in the bath around 6.30pm and are both asleep by 8pm. On a less good night it can take up to an hour longer...
Obviously it's a lot easier if DP is home to take up some of the slack with the bigger ones, but mostly I do it alone and now I'm used to it (and the kids are used to it) it's totally fine. The key for me was sticking my guns through the "challenging" stages of toddlerhood til everyone knew that the bedtime routine was absolutely non-negotiable (kids going to bed sensibly is one of the few areas that is completely sacred as far as I'm concerned...)
crocodarl it's the 121 time with ds I don't like him to miss out on but I did a story and put him down for his nap today while dd was asleep in the sling and he didn't seem to notice she was there so maybe he won't mind.
My worst nightmare from dealing with night waking solo (when dh was utterly broken before an important day at work and needed a night with ear plugs in) was just getting ds almost settled to hear dd start screaming, then leaving him 2 mins too soon and he starts wailing and then I'm stood on the landing not knowing which door to open!
I know what you mean... I tend to feel (rightly or wrongly) that it still counts as one-to-one time with the older child when the baby is in your arms, if the baby is less than about 10 months and not screaming.... and like you say there, you just have to use any opportunity you can to focus on one of them whenever you can... and try not to sweat it when you just can't! And as for which one to go for first when there's multiple screaming in the night..... arrrghhhh! Nightmare. Mine are all in the same room so I pretty much just go in, pick up the smallest one and sing to the others. It's not ideal, but what can you do?
Great thread! I only wish I'd asked this question a couple of years ago as I was tearing my hair out.
My biggest tip would be to make sure you shut the stair gate at the top of the stairs so everyone is at least on the same floor. My bathroom door is pretty easy to open so the toddler found that quite fun to open when she was out and I was dressing the baby.
Other than that, yes sort toddler out first then deal with baby.
Have everything ready where you need it before you even go up for bath/bed.
Let toddler help with any baby jobs they can, that way they might be distracted from being rotters. Or not if the mood takes them.
I've got a 3 year old and a 5 month old and DH works regular nights.
I try to do baths earlier if possible, it kills an hour too if spending time at home!
DD goes to need at 6.30 so I give DS (baby) his bottle at about 6.15 then go up, lay him in his bed while I do teeth, pjs etc then bring him into DD's room.and he lays in bed with her for a story or two (which usually just ends in lots of wriggling about and him pulling her hair but I've tried putting him in his bouncer, holding him, sling and he just gets grumpy!) luckily DD will settle herself easily so then I just get DS into pjs and put him to bed for 7.
It's taken until recently to get a good routine but it's going OK now so far.
Once he's sitting up and has teeth through I'll try and do teeth, pjs together.
My baby was born when the twins were just under 2. Baby didn't really get much bathing (he and I would go in together when the girls were at nursery so he was clean...ish). I would feed him sitting on the toilet while the girls played in the bath, then if he was filthy dunk him in and out and in the bouncy chair. Girls dried, nappies, pyjamas, milk and stories all together. Then teeth, into bed, lights out and I would sit in the girls' room in the dark, feeding the baby, telling stories until everyone was asleep. Then baby in bed,
whoops, sorry, too soon. This worked really well for us - the baby could have a massive, peaceful cluster feed and he would then have a massive, peaceful sleep. Girls love being told stories with them in them.
Agree with having everything you need upstairs and keeping everyone contained on one floor! And skipping the bath if it's only the odd night.
Mine are 2y3m and 4 weeks. DH works shifts so I've already hit a bit of practice in on solo bedtimes! This us what I do:
Big one "helps" get the little one ready for bed (chooses sleepsuit, hands me wipes, etc) so little one just needs fed and putting down.
Toddler gets into PJs/teeth brushed/face washed (she's pretty good at doing this herself under supervision, but if she needs help I just pop the baby down on her bed. I don't stress if her PJs are on backwards or she decides she wants to out on multiple pairs of socks "because I'm a squid, mummy!")
Everybody into toddlers bed (she has a big bed). Baby clamped to boob, toddler under the other arm, and we read stories.
Put an audiobook on the iPad for toddler and say goodnight.
Go downstairs, put baby in Moses basket, pour wine.
(That's on a good night. Invariably, the baby will poo/throw up, necessitating another nappy change, then will need another feed, while the toddler will want milk, no water, no, in a blue cup, with the light on, no, with the light off... etc, etc
Last week the toddler threw up, too, meaning a change of clothes for all three of us, and a change of bedding.)
A while back but when they were little it went sometthing like
- supper at 5.30 pm. Leave clearing up but older ones took plates through.
- feed baby whilst hearing reading/ supporting homework/nursery rhyme time and change baby during music practice etc. Baby not bathed then but in morning.
- run bath. Two at a time except eldest who could do herself. All in bathroom having lovely splashy time. Two brushing teeth whilst two in bath.
- water, if wanted. Nappies if needed, potty if needed (age need not bladder need). Oldest meanwhile bathing. Baby sat in bouncy chair or laid on floor.
- choose pjs and last story. Into bed.
- kisses, teddies and prayers.
Middle three lights out. Refeed baby by now. Older two get some 'grown up' time talk about school, listen to reading play lines or play a board game. Etc
- older two into bed. Lights out. Baby to bed if over 9 months.
- clear up bathroom, put laundry on, hang up towels.
- clear kitchen and dining room. Lay up for breakfast.
Lay out clean school clothes and check activities list etc. Put car keys and handbag by front door.
Get husband's supper if he was due home. Baby to bed at same time as me if under 9 months.
I know that worry. DP went out for a family meal last week; first time not had both of us present for 12 week old twins bedtime routine. Whilst urging him to go, ( cousin visiting, not seen for over 2 years) I was panicking inside! It was all ok. He rushed back early at 8.30 worrying I wasn't coping, but they were fast asleep and tbh it was the smoothest bedtime we have done yet! I'd go with the sling idea for the baby x
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