Routine makes Life less chaotic then it already is.
A new year doesn't have to be the beginning of a routine but maybe a tweak in what you already have. Along with all the advice I was given by moms, one I listened to was to start a bedtime routine around 3 months of age. We started the routine when Layla became 2 1/2 months old. My 4 Bs: Bath, Books, Boob, Bed. Layla is now 7 months old and is very used to the routine that she doesn't sleep
through the night unless we complete it. On New Years eve we stayed at a friends house and still made sure to complete the routine!
Bath: Although she may not need an actual bath with soap every night, I still fill the tub and put her in warm water just to calm her down and keep the routine.
Books: When we were trying to start the routine, a book seemed to be impossible to get through. She was usually crying right after the bath and I just wanted to feed her so she would fall asleep. But, I knew how important reading was for her brain growth (a post about this to come!), so I was determined to finish a book. Then some nights, I got through 2 or 3 books and wasn't sure if I had to read a few more. Now that I am a few months into the routine, I have a set number of 3 books. But, the last book is always the same one. It is a cloth one that she loves pulling at and eating. It is only 4 pages long, which my husband and I could recite to you at any time. I think it adds to the routine, with her knowing that it is the last book. Hopefully I will have proof of this in the future, but I don't at this time.
Boob (or bottle): Right now, it is the boob and once she gets a little older it will be the bottle. This has never been a problem to start or complete.
Bed: Some nights this part is a lot easier then others. Sometimes when I'm feeding her, she falls asleep and it is a easy move her to the crib. But other nights she is wide awake, happy, wanting to play and since I want to stick to the routine she is still placed in her crib. This can also go both ways, she will be silent and fall asleep (I wish that was every night) and the other nights she will cry. This is when we started the 15 minute rule. We will let her cry for 15 minutes. It is the LONGEST 15 minutes of my life. Sometimes at the 10 minute marker, I can hear her giving in and dozing off. And sometimes I have to get her at 15 minutes and give her the extra comfort that she needs by rocking her.
After she is finally asleep, pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy the silence..... until the morning!
I would like to say that bedtime routine is simple and always works out the same way every night, but that would be a blatant lie. It is always unpredictable but I cherish every moment. Part of the routine that I don't share with my husband, is that every night before we make our way to bed, I stop in her room, give her a kiss and say "mom loves you".