“Reaching the end of the day with a newborn (or older baby for that matter) can sometimes feel like crossing the finishing line of a marathon, “ says mother of two and creator of the (Not) Just A Mummy blog, Naomi.
“Freedom, at least for a few hours, is so tantalisingly close you can almost taste it. Unfortunately, your baby may not feel the same way about bedtime that you do (relieved, ecstatic, exhausted). In fact, they may feel the exact opposite (annoyed, upset, hyperactive).
“A solid bedtime routine can mean the difference between a peaceful evening and one that requires a warm milk and lie down (for the parents). Consistency and including activities that you both enjoy are key,” she says.
In the interests of your sanity come baby bedtime, we asked Naomi to dish on some of her favourite settling tactics to ensure a peaceful night for both you and your little one.
1. A warm bath – It goes without saying that a warm bath before bed is the ultimate way to unwind for us adults. Babies and young children are exactly the same. The slight rise then drop in body temperature helps induce sleepiness while the feeling of weightlessness is extremely soothing for newborns and young babies as it reminds them of the womb. Just be sure to check the temperature carefully and avoid using harsh soaps. Either a specifically formulated baby wash product or plain water is best.
bellabox loves: The gentle, tear-free formula of Cetaphil’s Baby Wash and Shampoo. Hypoallergenic and paraben-free, it contains organic calendula extract to soothe junior skins.
2. Massage – Infant massage is a wonderful way to relax and bond with your baby. The majority of babies enjoy the gentle strokes and research has found that it can promote a sense of wellbeing for everyone involved. Infant massage can also be a great way for dads to get involved in the bedtime routine. Just be aware that very young newborns can find massage quite exhausting so keep it short and perhaps alternate between a warm bath one night and a massage the next. When bub gets older, a bath/massage is the perfect end of day combo.
bellabox loves: La Clinica Calming Massage Oil for Baby – a non-irritating, natural massage oil containing organic jojoba oil, and organic calendula, chamomile and frankincense extracts, plus a gorgeous blend of ylang ylang, rose geranium and lavender essential oils to send bub off to the land of nod.
3. Dry and comfy – A comfortably baby is a happy, settled baby. It’s important to ensure bubba is dry, warm and in temperature-appropriate sleepwear for bed. A clean nappy is essential and for babies who have sensitive skin, a barrier cream applied to the nappy area can prevent a rash from occurring overnight. A multipurpose product like Curash Multipurpose Healing Cream can also be applied to any tender spots to prevent rubbing or chafing during sleep time.
bellabox loves: the cute and eco-friendly range of EcoNaps cloth nappies, available in a bunch of great colours and fun prints.
4. A soothing song or story – Babies love the sound of their parents’ voices. Including a specific book or song each night is a great sleepy time cue to let them know that the day has finished and that bedtime has come. Try singing the song or reading the story just before popping them into bed (or giving them their final feed) to help develop an association with that activity and sleep.
5. A mobile or light projector – A mobile attached safely to the side of the cot or to a hook in the roof that can be switched on to move and/or play music or a light projector which projects shapes and colours onto the ceiling are both great sleep cues and can help lull baby into a sweet sleep.