Happy month of March! I always associate March as the beginning of spring, so I'm trying to imagine spring is already here! It has been a little harder to get Oscar to sleep in the evenings
since it has been gradually growing lighter. He has well established now that light from outside means 'waking up time' and it is only 'going to bed time' once it is dark and there is no cheating him out of it. Still, it's a world away from the terrible newborn nights and the terrific exhaustion that comes with them, but can be tricky when he refuses to settle in the evenings.
I was really fortunate to discover Meredith Rivers, author of The Bedtime Breathing book, who was thankfully just as keen to see what I thought of her book as I was to read it! It is perfect to use for winding down before bedtime - and reading it through with Oscar made me just as sleepy. It contains a series of breathing exercises designed for children and Rivers takes us on a peaceful journey to the land of nod, flying under covers of cloud, against a backdrop of stars and images of galaxies and the night sky. It's a nice opportunity to bond with your little one before they go to sleep, as the book helps you to guide your child through the exercises. It will be best suited for Oscar at an older age when he can understand and respond to the words but he loves to stab and point at the words and is obsessed with the pictures!
We often have to travel a lot, while visiting each of Oscar's grandparents, so he will have a whole new bed to sleep in when this happens. He takes to it quite well but this book will be really useful to take with us to help him settle, when we can't follow his usual routine, especially as he grows older and can follow the words as well as the pictures. Our bedtime routine tends to vary a lot but here is the general consensus
. Teatime - When Oscar is not sharing our food, we copy Abney and Teal from Cbeebies and feed Oscar porridge for his tea! Other variations include rice pudding and occasionally semolina with some banana. It's really nice to have in the evenings as it is not as messy for his clean pyjamas and fills him up for ages. He also has a bottle of warm milk to drink.
. 'Bedtime hour' time - Oscar really enjoys watching 'Abney and Teal', 'The Clangers' and 'In the Night Garden' on Cbeebies. I've no idea if these have a calming effect on him at all but I think he must associate them with bedtime. Some of the characters make him smile and he looks so cute just grinning at the telly!
. (Optional) bath and lotion time - We don't bath Oscar every night, but he loves it when we do, it's like a special treat for him! He loves to sit and splash and grab at the water and bubbles, while playing with his light up duck. After that it is lotion time and we love to use Johnson's Bedtime Lotion (the lilac one) which just smells divine and so soothing, soft and fresh. I massage a dollop on to Oscar's arms, legs and feet, all while he's trying roll on his tummy!
. Nightlight time - Oscar has a special little night lamp that project stars and moons on to the ceiling and this is wonderful for easing him off to sleep. It has many different settings but we choose the gold stars that circulate round and round slowly on repeat.
. Reading time - When there's just enough light to see, we either read a little story or talk quietly about what we did in the day while I rock him. He loves hearing me talking but he eventually grows fidgety and tries to grab baby Groot in his cot.
. Tuck me in time - I tuck Oscar in to bed in his cot, in between Groot and Makka Pakka, leaving him to gaze at the stars moving on the ceiling. He has a proper little baby pillow and duvet set to snuggle under, followed by a knitted blanket!