It’s been a while since I sat down and typed anything on this blog and the last time I spoke in-depth about Dexter was on this post about his 3 month sleep routine.
And here I am again, ready to talk about my favourite subject, one us mums have a love/hate relationship with: sleep.
If you follow me on Instagram you will know my stories basically revolve around Dexter’s sleeping habits– I am one obsessed mama. This is probably due to the fact I’m a terrible sleeper and so getting him to sleep as well as possible has somehow become my life goal. Some people want to run the London marathon, others feel the need to climb Mount Everest. Me? I’m just over here plotting ways to make my baby sleep 12 hours straight at night.
Before I get onto the nitty-gritty I just want to start off by saying this– Dexter is in fact a very good sleeper but he’s also partial to a 5am party in his cot, hence my constant babbling over on Instagram stories. There are plenty of mums who message saying they wish their baby slept as well as Dexter, but then again there are also just as many who message saying their baby sleeps 7-7:30 and have I tried this that and the other?
I guess when it comes to baby sleep us mums will never be satisfied. Let’s face it, 7am is now the new 11am when it comes to a lie in and the majority of us know exactly what it feels like to be dragged out of a warm bed at 2am just to search aimlessly in the pitch black for a lost dummy.
So let’s talk about Dexter’s current routine.
Up until about a month ago Dexter was still getting very tired every 2-3 hours and was having 3 naps a day. He was also getting up at 4:30/5am every single morning, which was slowly sucking the life out of me. Not because I was getting up at 5am to feed him, Rich actually does the majority of night/early morning stuff, but because I was still awake regardless. Rich knows I’m a terrible sleeper so has always offered to do more of the night feeding than me. What a guy eh?
The early morning start meant it was very hard to get Dexter to drop a nap, and although the number of naps is certainly not the most important thing in the world, day sleep does affect night sleep as a baby gets older and 100% will affect the time a baby wakes up.
His old routine looked a bit like this:
(Sometimes he would go straight back to sleep after the milk at 5 but as time went on this didn’t happen)
5am wake up & milk
6:30 back to sleep for 1-1.5 hours
10:00 morning nap for up to 1.5 hours
3pm afternoon nap (latest he was allowed to sleep till was 4pm)
I’ve put milk in brackets because before we had the routine we do now, Dexter was a bit all over the place with his milk. He was also super fussy with taking bottles and we wasted a lot of formula. This is also a very rough guide to what he was doing as I can’t really remember exactly how it went. Some days were different and his last nap was later but it all depended on whether or not he went straight back to sleep at 5am or not.
Over the last few months I had a lot of people messaging me on Instagram to say I needed to put Dexter to bed later to stop him waking up so early but I just couldn’t get him to stretch to 7pm, and if we did somehow manage it, he would still wake at 5.
I knew that his naps weren’t balanced, I’ve read enough about baby sleep to know he was sleeping too much in the day and going to bed slightly too early, which was affecting his wake time.
A lovely lady reached out to me on instagram and shared a routine she was given by a sleep expert, who in fact I also follow on instagram and Facebook so I was chuffed to bits.
This routine is pretty much the same as others I’ve been sent too and you can just google sleep routines for 9 month olds to find something suitable.
This is the new routine:
6.30/7am – baby wakes or is woken
7am – first feed of the day. This should not be before 7am. If baby wakes then you can change nappy, go downstairs, play etc until the feed
7.45am – breakfast
9am – nap time, 30 minutes. Baby must be up and awake by 10am latest
11.45am – lunch + water
12.30 – nap time, 1hr 30 -2 hours approx. Baby should be up and awake by 2.30pm/3pm latest. He could have over 2 hours if he was still sleeping. 3pm is absolute cut off.
2/2.30pm/3pm– next feed
5pm – dinner + water
6.15pm – bedtime routine starts – Bath, massage, book etc
6.40pm – last feed
7pm – bed time
The first morning was a bit tough as he woke like usual and we just had to leave him to finally fall back to sleep. Then we started the day as the routine said.
We managed to nail it the first day, although the evening part was altered as he was knackered from the lack of napping and also the long stretch after his last nap but I kid you not, he went to sleep at 6:30pm and I had to wake him at 7:15am. I was shocked.
The new feeding times were amazing too as it meant he was actually ready for every bottle instead of us shoving one in his mouth and hoping for the best.
As the weeks have gone on, I’ve found he’s started to wake earlier and earlier and some days he still wakes and babbles to himself at 5:30 but generally he falls back to sleep and his new wake up time is now 6/6:30 ish. If he wakes before 6 we do not go to get him. And we are also really strict with the no milk before 7 thing because I don’t want to encourage him to wake earlier for a bottle.
Now we’ve settled into this routine it has slightly changed, mainly because we are preparing for the clock change (I told you I was obsessed) but also because he’s staying awake longer and longer so naturally the routine needs to be adjusted. His morning nap now falls at 9:30am for 30 mins and his afternoon nap is at 1pm till 3pm, sometimes 2:30 if he wakes earlier. He then makes it till just before 7 for bed.
He’s starting to get a bit fussy again with his bedtime bottle but he’s eating a lot of solid food now so I’m trying to let it go and resist the urge to wake him at 10pm for a bottle. What is it with us mums trying to top babies up with milk before bed in the hope they will sleep in later? LOL.
So that’s it, Dexter’s 9 month sleep routine.
It’s definitely worked well for us and I’m loving the fact he’s now awake for longer periods of time but I also do live for that 2 hour afternoon nap where I can basically get shit done. It can be a tad restricting but you have to decide what is more important for you and your baby. I need sleep, and so does Dexter and he is not the kind of baby to doze off on my lap quietly when he’s tired. He will kick up a stink and to me it’s not worth the hassle. He loves his bed so who I am to stand in the way?
I also love my baby free evenings where I can cook a meal, run a bath or crack on with editing weddings and shoots. I need that time for me and while some people may think life is too short for sleep routines, I’m the other end of the scale and believe having a set routine means Dexter is his happiest.
Happy baby, happy mama. 😊