A consistent and comforting bath-bedtime ritual can work wonders for the whole family. Not only will it help settle little ones and prepare them for a restful sleep, it also offers parents a precious bonding experience.
Here’s our tried-and-tested tips for washing and winding down with your little one.
1. Timing is everything
Ideally, the routine starts after they’ve had their dinner, or somewhere around the 5.30pm mark. Whatever time you choose, just be sure it suits both you and them, and then stick to it. A routine is going to be way more effective if it’s consistent every day because it will set bub’s internal body clock for settling.
2. Taking a relaxing bath
Babies just love the water. Two or three baths a week is enough to keep them fresh and clean, but if bub loves the tub, feel free to do it daily.
A good bath is one of the most crucial steps in a good ritual – just ensure your bathwater is lukewarm when you pop them in and then use a good quality baby bath product. We really like Lovekins Baby Hair + Body Wash enriched with Kakadu Plum. This wash is endorsed by the Australian College of Midwives and has a grounding essential oil blend of Australian Blue Cypress and Lavender to help calm your bub.
Simply place a small amount either on a washcloth or in the water to cleanse them from top to toe while talking or singing to your baby.
3. Give them a loving massage
The benefits of baby massage are many. First, the connection is fantastic for bonding – which is particularly great for dads, or mums who aren’t breastfeeding, who might not be getting as much skin-to-skin contact with their little one. Massage has also been proven to help boost immunity in babies and make them feel more relaxed, which is perfect for promoting a good night’s sleep.
So after their bath, place your baby in a warm towel somewhere safe and rub a small amount of baby oil, such as Lovekins Baby Massage Oil all over their back, tummy, arms, legs, fingers and toes in long, stroking movements. For the face stick to a baby moisturiser instead such as Lovekins Baby Face Cream (just avoid the eyes).
4. Time for a good milk feed
While this seems like an obvious step, it’s important to mention as babies who end the day with a full tummy will have a better chance of sleeping well. So once they’re dressed snugly after their bath and massage, this could be when you give them their bedtime milk.
If you’re breastfeeding make sure to drain one breast before offering the other (so they get the richer hindmilk), and for both breast and bottle feeding, watch your baby for cues that they’re full (such as their sucks slowing down).
And don’t forget to get those burps out! A baby with trapped wind will find it very difficult to go to sleep easily, and babies with reflux may also need to be upright for a while after feeding to help the milk stay down.
5. Share stories and cuddles
It’s never too early to read to your baby. Even newborns love hearing the sound of their parents’ voices and a bedtime story is the perfect activity to help them finish off the day, no matter how old your child is. During their milk feed or afterwards is a great time for cuddling up and reading stories, and remember to speak with expression and point to the pictures as you read.
6. Play calming music
Once it’s time to put baby to bed, dim lights and soft music is the perfect combo to send them off to dreamland. Either sing a lullaby yourself or try some soothing baby nighttime music like Kinderling Kids Radio’s Sleep Radio. Playing 24/7 via the free Kinderling app, this soothing non-stop radio station is packed with gentle, dreamy rhythms and songs to keep bub lulled and peaceful for both day naps and bedtime, including cute lullaby versions of artists like David Bowie, Prince and Fleetwood Mac. What baby wouldn’t want to drift off to a bit of Ziggy Stardust?!
A solid baby bath and bedtime routine really is the key to a good night’s sleep for all, plus lets bub know they’re safe and loved. So just be sure to follow the steps above and you’ll be well on your way to mastering – and enjoying! – this daily ritual once and for all.
This post is sponsored by Lovekins