Had a frantic call from a mom whose 4 week old was on a good schedule, but didn't go to sleep until about 10 - 11pm, despite starting the bed time routine at 7!
So off I went for an observation and consultation. As 7pm approached, up we went to the nursery, and mom put on some music, turned on the overhead lights, and started to feed baby, talking to him the whole time. All the while mom was feeding, older siblings and hubby were coming in and out, for one thing and another, and I could visibly see the baby becoming over stimulated, and fussy very quickly. Then when the feed was over, baby was put into pajamas and.....wait for it....put under a toy with flashing lights and more music!!! By 9 pm poor baby was a complete mess, over tired, over stimulated, and hard to calm. Eventually the baby passed out from sheer exhaustion at 10:40!
Here are the changes I made the next night.....mom was told to let everyone know that they could come up and say good night to the baby BEFORE the routine started, and then not come back into the nursery unless there was a dire emergency. So up we quietly went at 6:45, so that the feed could start at 7. Siblings kissed baby and left, and then mom was instructed to put on the white noise machine to cue it is bed time, change baby into PJs and swaddle, and turn all lights off, in that order. Then mom was to feed baby in a very low key, quiet fashion, as you would in the middle of the night, with no conversation, just hugs. Baby drifted off to sleep peacefully, and was in the crib and asleep by 7:30.
Bed time routines are to be very calm, relaxing, and uneventful, with as little stimulation as possible. I'm pleased to report, this is baby's new bed time every night now! Contact me if you need help with your little one's nightly routine.