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For my son, on bath nights, at 7pm he gets his bath, then lotion and massage for his eczema, fresh diaper, bottle, then he lays on my chest and I rock him to sleep. Sometimes I can catch him in a super milk induced drunk'n state and lay him down and he will pass out on his own. But more often than not I wait until he is in a deep sleep before transferring him to the bed.
My DD was a whole different story. lol. She had colic from heck and it would take hours of walking around with her before she passed out and would not sleep unless she was on my chest right next to me so when she went to bed, so did I. Around 6 months I could start just laying her next to me and have my hand on her and she would pass out. Not much of a routine with her unfortunately other than bottle, pjs, and bed. We bed shared with her until she was 2, then slowly started to move her to her own bed. 2 weeks after DS was born (shes almost 3 now and DS is 3 months) she finally started to sleep all night in her own bed without a problem.
With DS, we will bed share until probably 7 or 8 months ( I want the risk of SIDS to be as low as possible since he does sleep on his belly) before I move him to his crib in our room, then we will move him to his sister's room when he is able to sleep 8+ hours without waking for a bottle (this is more so he doesn't wake his sister). DD was very difficult when we started moving her to her own bed away from us. But, she has always been HIGH anxiety and super high maintenance. DS is totally oppose...very chill and laid back with great adjustment to new things so I anticipate a much easier time with him and the transition.
We still bedshare at 2.5 years. (Actually, he has a twin bed in our room right next to our big bed, but it's total musical beds once we actually go to sleep. Sometimes he STTN in his twin, other times climbs into our bed.)
For us, finding the window where he's ready for sleep is most important. I try to transition to slower-paced activities, usually after DH has worn him out with lots of active play. We brush teeth and if he's not quite tired enough to settle, read a couple books. I nurse him a little bit then mostly cuddle him in bed until he falls asleep. Sometimes he's really chatty, which is cute and I let go on a little bit to wind down. We have a "Scout" stuffed dog that plays bedtime music.
Once he's asleep, I sneak out. Sometimes I can get away with leaving the room when he's almost-asleep, it just depends on his mood. Then DH and I come to bed and crawl in with him later on.
Mama to Sebastian, born 9/2010
One of us would wipe them down/nighttime diaper/put on jammies, and then they would either get cuddles with DH or I would rock and nurse them. I think we started reading as a part of bedtime when DS1 was close to 12 months, since he wasn't into books before then. We've never been big on baths as part of bedtime, though they get them before bed fairly regularly now.
Both kids transitioned out of our bed between 18-24 months. We had a crib mattress shoved next to our king-size mattress for DS1 when he was about 12 months. He moved into a toddler bed with no problem he was about 24 months. DS2 had a crib that he used for the first part of the night, also.
We moved DS2 onto a twin mattress in our room, but not next to our bed, when he was about 18 months. He was actually much harder to get to sleep alone (and still would co-sleep every night), but it wasn't a hard transition overall. Having a big enough bed that I could sleep with him, but he wasn't in *our* bed was very, very helpful, and something I would do again with a third baby.
DS2 - Oct 2010 (my VBAC baby!)
cpmich:We still beshare at 2.5. We do bathtime, change into pjs, nurse, say goodnight to nursing, brush teeth, read 3 stories, and go to sleep. He has a twin bed without box spring on floor next to our king with box spring. Sometimes he sleeps next to me and sometimes on the lower bed. His choice. He chooses the lower bed more often now. Edited... I watch for signs of tiredness to know when to do bathtime. Sometimes he says he is tired and asks to go.
I do this with DD too. Normally she has a bath at 7 then by 745 she is in pj's and has her bottle with DH while i get ready then we brush and go to bed. She hasnt gotten into reading at all so I cant do stories yet. Normally she just talks and I try not to fall asleep before her but usually fail lol We still bedshare btw.