Bedtime issues for preschooler and newborn — The Bump

Bedtime issues for preschooler and newborn

I'm losing my mind. My 3 year old DS's bedtime routine takes about an hour from bathtime to story time. We have always struggled with a routine for him and dcan't get him in bed earlier than 8pm. He is usually asleep by 8:30. DD who is 5 weeks old, starts nodding off around 7:30 but it takes her 30 min or longer to actually go to sleep. I place DD in her carseat so that I can bathe DS and dress him in his PJs. Then, I've tried swaddling her, the infant carrier, feeding her, in order for her to stay calm so that DS can receive attention. None of this has worked, she screams the entire time and then I have a frustrated 3 year old screaming too.

Moms of 2 kids, please share your nighttime routines. I've failed miserably at trying to keep mine calm--at least 1 kid ends up suffering because I can't give them 100% of my attention.

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Re: Bedtime issues for preschooler and newborn

  • Evening times are the infamous "witching hour" times for NB. I would have to put DD#2 in her swing in the other room and just let her fuss if she wouldn't settle down. Most of the time I would wear her in a wrap carrier while I read books and snuggled a bit with DD1 and it worked out fine. GL! That was a challenging time for me when I went through it!
    My 2 girls, both born on a Friday the 13th, are exactly 2 years, 2 months, 2 hours and 2 minutes apart! And Baby Boy joined us October 11, 2013! image
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  • I wear DD in the Moby while I'm doing DS's nighttime routine.  She usually nods off during bathtime (I think it's the white noise of the running water) and then sleeps through booktime, teeth brushing and putting DS to bed.  It works for now (DD is almost 12 weeks), especially since DH works nights and is rarely home to help me out. 

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  • Shorten bedtime and do baths in the morning when the baby is probably a little easier.  
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  • imageBrewtowngrl:
    Shorten bedtime and do baths in the morning when the baby is probably a little easier.  

    I agree that thinking about a change to make things easier for you.  Baths don't have to be at night- mornings or afternoons are just fine as well.  I also liked a pp suggestion of wearing the baby while you help get your son ready.  Having a newborn & a toddler/preschooler can be brutal sometimes- be kind to yourself, you're doing the best you can!

  • Is your DH around to help at bedtime?  When both DH and I were home, we would each take a child.  I would shorten bedtime and stick to a routine that works for you.  For us, we would always try to do storytime with both girls even if we were giving the baby her bottle while reading the story.  We would snuggle all 3 of us together on the glider in the babies room.  Our bedtime routine has always pretty much been the same - after dinner we either play or on bathnight (only 2-3 times a week other than in summer when we do it more often) we bath the girls together - when DD#2 was not in the big tub yet - we would wash her in the baby tub on the bathroom counter and DD#1 would either help or if both DH and I were there, we would each take a child.  After getting PJ's on, the girls got milk/bottle (depending on age) while we read stories.  We then brushed teeth and tucked the girls in while awake.  We always tried to do everything at the same time.  On nights when only one of us was home, we either wore the baby or had her in the swing or a bouncy seat in the same room as us or we would get her ready and into bed and then finish up with older DD.  My girls are 21 months apart so when DD#2 was a baby, DD#1 still needed a lot of help.  DD#2 had bad reflux and could not lay down right after her bottle so it made it more of a challenge.  On most nights, we can get the girls into bed in about 30-45 mins depending on if we shower them and how many books we read.  The big thing is setting the tone - we always dimmed the lights, had very soothing/calm music playing and just stayed as calm and quiet as we could.  It does get easier as they get older.
    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
  • First...let go of the 100% of your attention unattainable goal. You really won't be able to easily and that's okay!

    I have the same combo and it just got easier recently  because my DD now goes to bed at 6:30pm. I let my son watch a show while I bathe, feed, and put her to bed. Takes about 30 mins total....or ONE Octonauts. HA!

    In the beginning I was constantly striving for this. I wanted the baby in bed early so that my son got some special attention each night. So I just kept working at putting the baby down earlier and earlier ( forgoing bath alot of the time with the newborn).

    And don't worry if your son needs to skip bath once and awhile....just brush teeth, wash face and read books. He'll be fine. 

    Don't strive for perfection, strive to just get it done!


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  • When DD was very little, I would put her to bed first. 

    Also, DS has a bedtime routine that has not changed for years.  I think you need to pick a routine that lasts no more than 15 minutes, and stick to it. If we don't do baths, his routine is jammies, brush teeth, read one book, lights out. When he was around 2.5, he tried to finagle another story or procrastinate with brushing his teeth, but we didn't change anything and he eventually went right back to what he was used to. 


  • I'm as new at this as you, but if DD2 isn't sleeping at bedtime I have 2 choices id DH is working late: 1)If she's crying I put her in her swing or RnP and she just has to cry.  2)If she's not, she tags along for DD1's nighttime routine- which does not include a bath.  I hate just letting her cry, but sometimes it just isn't a choice.  She won't suffer any lasting harm.  I love the Moby suggestion, but haven't gotten good enough at it yet.  
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  • Thanks everyone for the suggestions and encouragement.  DH works from 12pm to 11pm, so I'm on my own.  I would love to shorten DS's bedtime routine, he has sleep problems and we've been working on bedtime adjustments for over a year--it's an ongoing project.   I like the idea of the infant swing, I'll move it upstairs to see if this will work.  I'm also going to try having DS watch an episode or two while I try to get DD to sleep.  She's still pretty young, but I feel like when we miss that 7:30 window for bedtime, we spend the next 2 1/2 hours trying to get her to sleep.

    Once again, thanks for the advice, I will try to stop beating myself up.  :)

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  • We got lucky and DS2 is currently liking his bed time the same time as DS1.

    So, on bath nights, we all go upstairs- DS1 gets in the big tub and I sit on the bathroom floor with the baby tub next to me and they both get baths at the same time. Then we move to DS1s room and lay on the floor and do lotion and jammies, brush teeth, etc. If the baby is being cooperative, we'll read a book together. Otherwise, I'll nurse DS2, put him down, then come back to read DS1 his book and give him snuggles.

    On non-bath nights, I'll let DS1 stay up and watch a show, get DS2 down and then do DS1s routine- which is jammies, teeth, one book and some cuddles.  

    It's not super easy with two, but it's bearable. Good luck!  

    Son #1: 12.27.08 (6 years)
    Son #2: 02.06.12 (2.5 yrs)
    Baby #3 due: 02.10.15 (It's a girl!)
    GD with all three pregnancies

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