A calming bedtime routine for baby
Updated: Aug 26, 2019
By the end of a long day of what sometimes feels like juggling a few dozen tiny marbles , #motherhood, bedtime couldn’t come soon enough, amiright!? I lovingly gaze at my 8 month old, with those sparkling eyes and that toothless, slobbery grin; and I’m so in love, yet Im also thinking of how he better go the eff to sleep - cuz mama real tired.
Im counting my blessings, because honestly, I know how brutal sleep deprivation can be. We are definitely at a consistent place where he's going down and staying down for the whole night. As a result, I'm starting to get my brain back after those brutal months immediately postpartum! yay.
Im sharing my rituals for anyone out there fighting the good fight for some much needed rest. I stand with you and salute you mama soldier.
I really think routine is the name of the game here. I aim to do most of our routine, most nights. That way our tiny energy sucker is primed for sleep, whether it's just me or my husband, or an occasional babysitter putting him down for the night.
1. A warm bath is always very nice and calming. It's a perfect setting to either slow down and soothe baby, or wiggle and splash away that extra energy. When you add a few drops of lavender essential oil, you enhance the calming effect of the warm water. There is a great study here- that shows how lavender essential oil reduces stress and crying and enhances sleep in very young infants.
2. Moisturizing your baby's skin is a great excuse to give a gentle massage to your little love. Who doesn’t love gentle touches? If your baby has eczema like mine, then you have the added benefit of keeping his skin healthy. I use non toxic baby oils from young living seedlings line as well as my own home made body butters. I have roll-on essential oils for baby, and I roll them on his little feet and down his spine. They are just the queues my baby needs to know it’s time to slow down and prepare for sleep. Don’t leave yourself out of this routine! If you need it- rub some of that lavender behind your ears and on your chest, and wrists, then enjoy the calm.
3. Soft lighting. I'm a huge fan of salt lamps. I've got them in my own room, the baby's room, and my living room. The lighting is perfect and there are a few other added benefits. Choose one with a dimmable switch, and turn it down to a soft candle light glow, and it isn't toxic like many candles are. I also love my diffusers, and I have those in every room of the house. The dessert mist diffuser has a soft candle-light flicker option that’s so beautiful. The advantage of a diffuser is that I can also add a soft calming sleep essential oil like sleepyize, lavender, or gentle baby. I am also a huge fan of fake candles, they flicker and create magical candle feels, without candle toxins.
4. Soft music, singing or reading while you snuggle, nurse, or bottle feed. I like making sure my little guy is completely topped off for the night, so I pull him close and I nurse him, or my husband bottle feeds him. Adding the soft music ( just from my phone) is the tip of the iceberg. I like to take this moment to be mindful as well, breathing deeply, and calming myself while my baby feeds.
5. Lovie. My baby really loves his lovie. Its a super soft satin and felt little elephant-head-thingy, that is extremely difficult to describe. However, its a great little snuggle toy, and I give it a light dusting of the same DIY lavender linen spray I use on his bed.
6. I always put my baby down awake, and I flick on the sound machine before I leave the room. I started using one because of Dr. Karps book, The Happiest Baby on the Block. He talks about turning on your baby’s calming reflex using the 5 S’s and shhhhhhhh- ing sounds is one of them. The womb is as loud as a vaccuum cleaner 24/7, so the idea is that complete silence isn't nearly as calming as some background noise. I highly recommend using one. You might be like me and start using one in your own room too.
There you have it. May you and your baby feel calm, and rest well tonight... and every night.