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You Need to Understand (and Capitalize on) the Chaos of Baby Bedtime Routines

It’s 6:22 p.m. on a Tuesday night, which means in approximately eight minutes all crazy bedtime hell is about to break loose as my husband and I join forces to tackle the notorious bedtime routine for our three children.

Up first is a bath for our 10-month-old, Finley. Many parents will understand the infamous cycle of “alerting” your baby that bedtime is coming by participating in the same sequence of events each night. All the parenting books talk about it. He strips the baby, while I go start the bathwater.

While I bathe the baby, he gathers the essentials: lotion for after the bath, the pajamas, the owlet, the sleep sack, the pacifier, and the monitor. As soon as he alerts me that he’s ready, I pull Finley out of the bath, dry him off and pass him off to my husband who does everything in his power to hold onto the squishy, squeaky, flailing human (parents of babies will completely understand all those descriptors). 

I go make the bottle and alert our twins that it is now their time to get ready for bed. Amidst complaints of their own, they reluctantly head to their bedroom to pick up castaway toys, pull out pajamas, select which princess or Disney pull-up character they wish to wear, brush their teeth, and for my daughter, find her matching silk scrunchie to put up her brunette locks that she swears make her just like Elsa. 

Meanwhile, my husband and I vie for rocking and feeding Finley because that person gets to read or sit in quiet or stare at their phone and have a few minutes of semi “me time” while the other handles the twins. On this night, he wins.

After arguments on who gets to pick the nightly book before bedtime and my daughter hysterically crying that she can’t find her pink scrunchie and she doesn’t want to wear the ugly green one, we settle in. We read the book, we say prayers, we ask each other what we’re going to dream about and say I love yous 27 times before finally pulling up the covers on their beddies and hitting the alarm on their okay-to-wake alarm. 

If you think this latter part isn’t essential, just ask me how many times I get the “MOOOOOOOMMMMMMM! You forgot to set our alarm!!!!” scream moments after departing the room. I close the door and often let out a sigh. The bedtime routine is complete for 24 hours.  

Each year, “essential” bedtime paraphernalia seems to increase. If you ask my parents what was required for putting myself and my four siblings to bed back in the early 90s, it was an old t-shirt and a blanket. Tooth brushing happened 90% of the time. 

Beyond that—society made no suggestion of required sleep items. Now, 30 years later, your adequacy as a parent may be judged by your child’s lack of sleep preparations.

So what does any of this have to do with you as a purveyor of sleep? As a retailer in the space it’s an easy answer–are you carrying the products I need (and I say “need” very tongue in cheek because do I really need these items? Debatable. Will I be caught without them? Hard no). 

Many of the items I referenced are sold almost exclusively online which is super fun when you’re a parent trying to achieve better sleep and someone recommends a life-changing product and your hope of better sleep is still 2-6 days away depending on shipping. 

If you think I’m joking, ask me how many times I Googled “nested bean sleep suit” in the month after my son’s four-month sleep regression hoping some random store in my area had invested in good SEO and carried the product in-house? 

I’ll enlighten you. Three.

How many times did I purchase it? Not one time because I’m a product of an instant gratification society and I researched options until I found something in a store that promised me the assurances of the sleep I so desired.

Sleeping aids and accessories are a $100 BILLION dollar industry and with women and moms making the overwhelming majority of purchases isn’t too hard of a math problem to figure out how baby sleep accessories benefit your bottom line. Cute babies sell things. Sleep-deprived moms buy things for those cute babies. It’s that simple.

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