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3 Step Expert Bedtime Routine For Baby

Sleepless nights are a common part of parenthood, especially in the early days. With feeding, nappy changes and other factors, running on little sleep can quickly become the norm. But there is so much that parents can do to help baby sleep better, and establishing a sleep routine should be at the top of your list!

JOHNSON’S®, the No.1 baby skin care brand in Ireland with more than 120 years’ experience pioneering the science of baby skin care, have just launched their new Tonight We Sleep™ campaign, which highlights the importance of starting and maintaining a bedtime routine for your baby. JOHNSON’S® clinically proven bedtime routine engages the senses and helps baby fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer in three simple steps*: Paediatric Sleep Consultant and JOHNSON’S® ‘Tonight We Sleep™’ Campaign Ambassador, Lucy Wolfe advises parents on how to get the best out of each step of this easy to follow three step bedtime routine:

Step 1: Bath

A bath can be a good way to help relax your baby ahead of sleep time. It can be a great sleep cue and may help to anchor the end of the day. Many parents report that this is a lovely start to bedtime and many parents find it a close and connected time with their little one. Nursing babies can be bathed by Dad and can be a great bonding opportunity for all members of the family and not just Mom.

  1. Make sure the temperature is correct - test with your hand to make sure.
  2. Allow for at least 5-8 centimetres of water and pour water over the baby’s body during the bath to prevent a chill
  3. Consider using a bedtime bath product such as JOHNSON’S Bedtime Baby Bath that can help prepare baby for sleep.
  4. Don’t get your child undressed until you are ready to put them in the bath
  5. Make sure that the room is not chilly
  6. Be organised, have towels, lotions and shampoos ready before you put your child in the bath
  7. For small babies I would recommend a bath seat to help you feel confident, wet babies are slippery! Always keep one hand on your baby.
  8. You could always put your small baby bath into the big bath until your child is bigger, if not make sure it is placed on a flat secure surface
  9. Don’t spend too long in the bath, I generally would anticipate a dip, splash, wash and out again

Step 2: Massage

When your bath-time is finished then retreat to the bedroom where your child will sleep. Massage is the second stage of the three-step routine designed to help you ease your baby into the land of nod. At this point you should dry and nappy your baby and consider using JOHNSON’S® Bedtime Baby Oil. It may be well worth taking a few baby massage classes to help you learn some massage techniques. Indulge in plenty of physical and eye contact. Gently talk and sing to your baby as they enjoy being connected with you, start the massage with a gentle hello. It can be helpful to do this exercise in a dimly lit environment, to help promote the sleep hormone melatonin. You may like to use soft playing music or white noise on in the background to help regulate the heart beat and again to help your child learn key words or songs that you say or sing before you want them to sleep. Tummy Massage:

  1.  Hold your hand so your pinkie's edge can move like a paddle across your baby's belly. Starting at the base of the rib cage, stroke down with one hand, then the other, in a paddle-wheel-like motion.
  2. Massage his/her abdomen with your fingertips in a circular, clockwise motion.
  3. Do the "I Love U" stroke: Trace the letter I down your baby's left side. Then trace an inverted L, stroking across the belly along the base of her ribs from her right side to her left and down. Trace an inverted U, stroking from low on the baby's right side, up and around the navel, and down the left side.
  4. Walk your fingers around her navel, clockwise.
  5. Hold knees and feet together and gently press knees up toward her abdomen. Rotate baby's hips around a few times to the right. (This often helps expel gas.)
  6. Place hand on tummy horizontally and rock your hand from side to side a few times

Step 3: Quiet time

Before you anticipate that your child will go to sleep, after the bath and gentle massage activity, then indulge in some quiet one to one time with your baby. Sit down and read with them. Many young children want to only eat the book, so use a fabric book or tell them a made-up story from your imagination/memory. Participate in low impact activities that can help to relax your baby and prepare young child’s body for sleep. Do your best to end this pre sleep ritual with key words such as “it’s sleep time baby”. Turn out the lights and make an effort to help your child to be awake or partially awake before going into their cot, crib or co sleeper. Over time you will get more comfortable and confident in applying the bedtime routine and you will be able to develop and enhance each step as your child gets older. I would anticipate that your baby will start to go to sleep with ease and stay asleep for longer-so it will be well worth the effort.

Find out more information about the JOHNSON’S® Bedtime Tonight We Sleep™ campaign at www.johnsonsbaby.ie/bedtime. The app is also available to download for free from the Apple App Store or Android Google Play. This article has been sponsored by the JOHNSON’S® brand in partnership with Lucy Wolfe. Lucy does not endorse any JOHNSON’S® products. *3 step routine of bath, massage and quiet time, tested on babies 7 months+, 1 week+ use

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