Evening Routine for Breastfeeding Moms
Evening routines for breastfeeding moms help their babies sleep better and allow moms to get more sleep themselves. Depending on how old your child is, they may or may not be sleeping through the night. You might still be getting up to nurse them or they are getting up super early to eat. You might have just gone back to work or perhaps you’re attempting to wake up earlier to start to get used to a ‘new normal’ with baby. Whatever routine for moms that you’re hoping to work on, I suggest you start with the evening routine.
A good evening routine can help set your morning up for success. Having a plan and checking some things off an evening routine checklist can help you wake up knowing what you want to do, go to bed less stressed, and allow you and baby to sleep better.
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Evening Routine Checklist for Moms
Whether you are in a new mom sleep haze or you’re extended nursing your toddler (I’ve been in both those stages! I breastfed both my kids until 19 months so I feel you on how tired you are!) it helps to have an evening routine checklist to guide your night. Having a checklist allows you to maximize your time, not have to make too many decisions or think too much when it’s late and you’re super tired and lets you pat yourself on the back when you make progress.
A checklist isn’t just about being perfect all the time, it’s about progress. I like to use checklists for pretty much everything because it allows me to set small goals, check out my growth and practice habit stacking.
For example, say you have 5 items on your evening routine chart and notice that you typically only get 3 done each night. Next week, you can make a small goal that 3 out of 7 days you’ll aim to get 4 things done. The next week, aim for 4 tasks every day of the week. Now you can slowly up your goals, realize how capable you are of getting tiny tasks done, and feel more accomplished – instead of defeating for not perfectly checking everything off.
When it comes to creating tasks for your evening routine checklist, you’ll want to make sure that they take 5-15 minutes per task. If you find that you’ve got a task that might take 30 minutes (say clean the bathrooms or do a big meal prep) you’ll need to break that down into smaller chunks. Instead of ‘clean the bathroom’ write down ‘wipe down sink’ and ‘clean the toilet’.
Having your tasks in small chunks allows the busy mom to take action on goals instead of living in dread and overwhelm. Small tasks are also super easy to delegate out to the rest of the family. I find if I ask my 12 year old to clean the bathroom, it’s a whole fight I don’t feel like having. But if I just ask him to wipe the sink, he will do it with minimal huffing and puffing.
As a breastfeeding mom, your evening routine checklist might have less of your homemaking tasks and more of your mommy duties.
I’ve provided a sample evening routine checklist at the end of this post for you. It has some things that I do in my nightly routine but there is also a blank copy so you can add in your own. It’s helpful to write on it, put it in a sheet protector and use a dry erase marker so that you don’t have to print a new one each week!
Evening Routine for Infants and Toddlers
Before we dive into an evening routine specifically for a breastfeeding moms, let’s talk about what your baby or toddler could be doing for their evening routine. It’s super important to have routines for your kids (note that I said routines, NOT super duper strict schedules) so that they can see some predictability in the world. Having them on a routine makes things a ton easier on both you and baby!
Your baby will go to bed at various times depending on how old they are. For a great chart and baby sleep help, I highly suggest the book Precious Little Sleep! This book and its corresponding blog helped me SO much when I was struggling to get my baby to sleep!
I also suggest an earlier bedtime than you think for your kids. When mine were little, I was putting them to bed around 6:30pm and everyone thought I was crazy but science proves that sleep begets sleep! So tell all those people who tell you to ‘keep the baby up later so it sleeps in’ that it’s not true! Once they got older (mine are now 1.5 and 3.5) they do go to bed closer to 7:30-8:00 pm
When creating a sleep and evening routine, make it predictable and the same as much as possible. A calming bath with lavender soap can help them sleep better and start to signify that it’s getting close to bedtime. We also did our best to not nurse directly before bed so I suggest that the last feeding is right before you start your bedtime routine (about 20-30 minutes before you put the baby down) This helps decrease nursing to sleep associations and let’s you clean up any spit up!
After you’ve nursed the baby and possibly given a bath (because I”l be real, we probably do a bath about 3-4 times a week and not every night), take your baby or toddler up to their room to finish the evening routine. Try to get your baby used to being in their room if you’re trying to transition them out of their bassinet or your bedroom. It helps to play in their room during the day to increase their comfort level.
Use some lavender lotion, give a short baby massage and get them comfy in a fresh diaper and pajamas. We always end our night with a story and prayers – this part of our routine started on day 1! Please start reading to your babies daily as soon as possible (even in the womb!) It helps develop their language and love of reading early on!
We then use a white noise machine, blackout curtains and slowly back away from the bedroom. I do let me kids fuss/cry a tiny bit before bed and my kids may make noise when I put them down but are quiet by the time I get to the bottom of the stairs (well most nights!)
Our favorite baby sleep items include:
These incredible velcro swaddlers (we used this until my kids could roll over)
Need help getting you baby to sleep through the night? Check out the tips on my friend Jilly’s site by clicking the banner below!
When to Breastfeed Your Baby At Night
Depending on the baby’s age they might have middle of the night feedings for a while. My daughter didn’t stop her night feedings until we weaned them at 12 months and my son stopped his on his own around 6 months. You can make the choice when to stop them but, around 6 months, when they are starting solids, you may notice that your baby doesn’t need to nurse at night as much.
If you’re pumping during the day so that someone else can give the baby a bottle, make sure you have it ready to go. Neither of my kids took bottles…. EVER (it was awful and we tried every dang one) so it was up to me to nurse them every night.
Babies will most likely nurse every 2-3 hours until they are about 3 months old and then it increases to 4-6 and then they can go longer stretches. Each baby is different but be prepared with a good video monitor so you can see when your baby is up. Sometimes your baby may just stir or make noises in the middle of the night, like we all do, so I usually gave them 5 minutes before I went in to see what they would do.
Do your best to put the baby back down after you nurse, again it’s normal and okay if they fuss a little, so that you can get back into your bed. I won’t pretend that I haven’t pulled my kids in bed with me or fell asleep on a chair but it’s really not safe (unless you practice all safe co sleeping practices from the AAP) and really only like ‘half sleeping’. If you can put them down and crawl back into your bed, do it!
Routines for Breastfeeding Moms
After you’ve gotten the baby into bed for the first time, take some time for you before you jump right into trying to manage your home and housework. I like to take 20 minutes to literally sit in my bed, put on a positive podcast or audiobook and scroll my Insta Stories to decompress. I used to just scroll stories but I found it made me a lot less productive, so by putting on a podcast I at least get my mind in a good spot to do things. Check out my list of favs here!
Pick 2-3 tasks that you know you need to get done to set up tomorrow for success. My suggestion is to do one task to close out your day, one task to physically prepare for tomorrow and one task to mentally prepare for tomorrow.
To close out your day you might;
- Sweep the floor
- Take out the trash
- Load the dishes
- Wipe the counters
- Fold that load of laundry that has been sitting there for was too long
- Complete a 15 minute pick up
To Physically prepare for tomorrow you could;
- Prep any lunches
- Take out meat to defrost for dinner
- Pack up other kids book bags or items
- Set out quiet time activities for older kids
- Pick out your clothes or the kid’s clothes
To mentally prepare for tomorrow you might;
- Write down 3 things you’re grateful for in today’s chaos
- Set up your planner for tomorrow
- Pray or have quiet time
By picking just a few tasks, you really set yourself up to start the morning more prepared and less frazzled. This helps a lot if you aren’t sleeping through the night and don’t want to make a ton of decisions in the morning.
If you need to pump to prepare for the next day, I really suggest doing this with an electric pump while you mentally prepare for tomorrow. I find this to be the least active time where I’m really sitting and gearing up for the day. I loved my Medela pump with the hands free nursing bra and even though I didn’t have to pump a lot it was a lifesaver for hands free pumping!
Speaking of pumping, if you’re a pumping mom and need help creating a routine, want to troubleshoot issues or unsure of where to start, go and check out the Pumping Mom Academy (click the picture below!)
I’ve created a checklist that really helps a breastfeeding mom create an evening routine that works. I’ve added in the things that really help me but make sure you download and print the blank copy to customize it! Make sure if you do you share it on your Instagram and tag me @apurposedrivenmom! I’d love to see how it’s helping you!
Does your breastfed baby sleep through the night yet? Post in the comments and let us know what your night’s currently look like!
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