As a Maternity nurse and a mother of 2 I know how tough it can be to get through bath and bed time after a long day caring for a baby, doing the general household chores and sorting meals for the rest of the family etc.….
Here is a step by step guide to help you get through the hours of 5pm- 7pm with a small baby.
My feeling is that to get the best possible night’s sleep, your baby should always be awake by 5pm. Working on the 2 hr waking rule, baby should be tired by 7pm.
5pm wake baby if not already awake. This should be done gently. Unswaddle if swaddled and make general noise around baby. Put on the Tv or radio, do jobs such as emptying the dishwasher etc. If he is in the cot you could put the mobile on.
When your baby is awake a snack size bottle could be offered to the very young. This should only be around 1/3 of their usual size feed. Giving this bottle means that baby will be content enough to enjoy bath time but not so full that he will be sick or fall back to sleep.
After this feed the next half an hour can be tricky! Often baby will be grizzly, desperate to have a bath and a bottle and go to bed.
Try to prolong this where you can. Often only around 20 mins is possible. During this time, you could put baby under the cot mobile for a kick whilst you prepare the bath, show him some toys, put in bouncy chair, use one of the black and white books that babies adore or put on the play mat for a good old kick. You often find yourself doing them all as well as pacing around!
Hopefully you’ve got through that 20-30 minute period ok. The next bit is relatively easy, bath time! This should happen around the 5.45/6pm mark. Most babies who have a bath prepared to the correct temperature will enjoy this time. I quite like those moulded seats as it gives you a free hand and baby can kick freely.
Once bath time is over, coming out with a scream is often the case. Wrapping quickly in a warm towel and giving baby a cuddle can soon calm him down.
Dry baby and give a quick massage with oil. Dress and feed. If you are breast feeding you should offer the full feed. If you are bottle feeding you could reduce the feed by 1oz as he had his light snack at 5pm. We are aiming for baby to drink as much as possible to try and push him to late night 10/11pm feed.
Feeding should be done in a low lit room with little or no background noise or eye contact. Shhhing is fine if necessary.
When he has finished. Wind well and settle him in his room.
I find it is usual for a baby to take anything up to an hour to settle. This gradually gets quicker taking around 15 minutes in the not too distant future so please don’t be alarmed! I hope this helps!
Give me a shout if you require anymore advice, always happy to help!