Most people need time to wind down before bed, and babies are no different. They go to sleep better and sleep longer when they are calm, settled, and in a good routine that gets them into relaxation mode before being placed in the crib. Wind down routines can also serve as a wonderful bonding experience for both parent and baby, and will eventually promote better sleep for the entire family.
There are many ways to help your baby wind down. While some will undoubtedly work better than others, here are a few ideas that you can try with your lil bub.
A WARM BATH
After all the stimulation and play, it’s nice to sit baby down in a tub with warm water which instantly relaxes the body. This can be a time for quiet play with safe water toys as you talk and wash him. You can also sing a ‘bath’ song each evening.
Shnuggle Baby Bath, RM154.00
After the warm bath, you may want to continue your routine with a calm baby massage. Your nighttime baby massage shouldn’t be a long process. It’s best to use short, gentle strokes, work from baby’s head down to her feet. You can use baby oil or lotion depending on your preference.
You might also talk softly, hum or sing to them while massaging to create a sense of calm and reassurance for your baby.
CALM MUSIC OR WHITE NOISE
White noise refers to sounds that mask other sounds that might occur naturally in an environment. Just like swaddling, White noise generated by a shushing device reminds baby of the rhythms mum’s body.
While the most obvious benefit of white noise for babies is the fact that it could help them fall asleep, it could also benefit families who have multiple children at different ages by blocking out noises of siblings so baby can nap when the others don’t need to.
There are machines specifically designed for use with infants. Some are equipped with instrumental lullabies, and even a heartbeat noise that is used to mimic that of the mother.
Skip Hop Nightlight Soother Owl, RM299.00
Not all babies like to be swaddled, but if yours does, this is one technique that can help sooth her to sleep. Swaddling helps baby feel secure, as the sensation mirrors the pressure he once felt in your womb. He is also less likely to be disturbed by the jerks he does in his sleep, known as his startle-reflex.
Stop swaddling your baby as soon as he shows signs of being able to roll over on to his side or tummy.
Lil Fraser Swaddling Wrap, RM112.00
ROCKING UNTIL DROWSY
For many infants, rocking or using another kind of rhythmic movement works as a natural sleep aid, since it reminds them of being inside their mother’s body. Rocking your little one can be relaxing for both of you, but many books and research online advices to only rock till baby is ‘drowsy but still awake’ and then putting him or her in the crib to finish falling asleep solo.
Shnuggle Dreamie Baby Sleeper, RM799.00
While there are many other wind down routine ideas, you wouldn’t want to spend 3 hours on a bedtime routine. The goal is to help the baby get drowsy and then put them in their crib while still slightly awake.
And remember, no routine is perfect, it is OK to change routines if one isn’t working - just don’t give up on the idea of a routine all together. A sleep routine can be very challenging to stick to when both baby and parents are sleep deprived, however a successful sleep routine for your baby is the best way to get sleep yourself as well.
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