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. Set a start time
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 Jurlique Baby’s Gentle Hair and Body Wash from their new pure, natural botanical range. Tested by both paediatricians and dermatologists, it’s free from harsh chemicals, artificial colours and fragrances. Plus it’s tear-free and features soothing botanicals 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.
Read more about babies and bedtime:
- Breastfeeding your baby to sleep? Here’s why it doesn’t make you a bad mum
- 7 reasons your child isn’t sleepy
- 5 common baby sleep problems (and how to fix them)
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 Jurlique Baby’s Calming Massage Oil, all over their back, tummy, arms, legs, fingers and toes in long, stroking movements. For the face and other dry parts like the scalp and nappy area, stick to a baby moisturiser instead such as Jurlique Baby’s Soothing Moisturiser 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 Sleepy Soundtracks. There’s lots of themed song compilations to choose from, with cute lullaby versions – even artists like David Bowie, Prince and Fleetwood Mac have had their tracks reworked as sweet lullabies – cute! 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 is a sponsored post for Jurlique Baby.