Expert Tips To Create A Relaxing Bedtime Routine For Your Baby
Expert tips to create a relaxing bedtime routine that will help your little one get to sleep
By Amy Crichton, Baby Sleep Coach
We’ve all been there. It’s your little one’s bedtime but they’ve got other ideas! There are a number of things that affect your child’s mood and readiness to sleep at bedtime, but one thing that can help is a consistent, relaxing bedtime routine.
The key here is ‘consistent’. Children respond positively to consistency. It helps them feel safe and secure and they like to know what to expect next. So creating a routine that follows the same process each night might sound a bit boring to you, but it’s actually really important for your little one.
The good news though is that it doesn’t have to be boring! Bedtime routines can be really loving and help to deepen the bond between parent and child.
They’re great for other things too, such as helping to calm your little one after a busy day, bridging the gap between playtime and bedtime, and they also help to stimulate the production of melatonin - the sleepy hormone.
But what does a calming bedtime routine look like? Here’s an example of a routine that you could try, but the best routine is one that suits you and your little one, so make it personal.
A warm, relaxing bath is a great way to start your bedtime routine
There are lots of benefits to bathtime. It signals that bedtime is coming, and the drop in body temperature when your little one gets out of the bath actually signals to their brain to release melatonin - the sleepy hormone. This can help get your child in the mood for sleep quicker.
Love Ocean Kid's Whale Tail bubble bath and hair and body wash is a great addition to your little one’s bathtime. They’re made using natural ingredients, smell great and O&P London sells refills, keeping your plastic use down.
If you find that bathtime actually overstimulates your child before bed, try limiting toys and if it’s possible to dim the lights that will help make it a more calming experience too.
Baby massage is a wonderful way to help your little one relax
Once bathtime is finished, the rest of the bedtime routine will ideally happen in your little one’s sleep space. Keep the lights low if possible, either by dimming the lights, or turning off the main light and just having a side lamp on.
A quick massage is a lovely way to relax and again deepens that bond between you both. This can be as simple as using some gentle massage while you apply their moisturising cream, or you can even use baby oils and give a longer massage.
If it’s a bit chilly, keep baby wrapped up warm during their massage in one of Jellycats’s super snuggly Bashful Bunny blankets. 100% cotton and available in two adorable colours, this will keep your little one nice and snug.
Snuggle into super soft PJs
Making sure your little one’s PJs or sleepsuit are super soft will help them sleep better, especially if your child has high sensory needs and is very sensitive to the feel of certain fabrics. Additionally, children with eczema and other skin conditions would benefit from nightwear made from natural fabrics.
Kissy Kissy’s Dabbled Dots Footie and Sophie La Girafe footie are both super soft and made from 100% Peruvian Pima Cotton. Flip mitts prevent scratching and easy poppers help with quick nappy changes.
Mini-La-Mode’s Peter Rabbit and Flopsy Bunny sleeping bags are an adorable addition to go over your little one’s sleepsuit. Always check the temperature in your baby’s room and ensure they’re dressed appropriately. Most sleeping bags provide a tog rating, but if not, you will be able to feel whether the sleeping bag is better for warmer weather or colder weather.
Read a calming bedtime story
Once your little one is all warm and snug in their sleepsuit or PJs, it’s time for a bedtime story. Reading bedtime stories is a wonderful way to end the day. It gives you a chance to snuggle up with your baby and reading books together helps develop their language skills.
What better story than the Koala Who Couldn’t Sleep (don’t worry, he’s fast asleep by the end of the story). A lovely rhyming tale from the collection of books by Jellycat. You can find other Jellycat books here.
Lullabies can help your little one feel sleepy
Finishing off with a lullaby, or alternatively having some quiet lullabies playing while you read a story, is a lovely way to finish off the bedtime routine.
Orange Tree Toy’s gorgeous Peter Rabbit ™ Musical Carousel plays a soothing tune to Brahm’s Lullaby. The perfect accompaniment to a relaxing bedtime story and cuddle.
A teddy or comforter can be a lovely bedtime companion for your little one
If your child is over the age of one, then a teddy or comforter can be a lovely snuggle companion for them. It will act as a sleep association for them as well, so helps with the bedtime process. If you’re thinking about taking away a dummy soon, then something to snuggle can be a great replacement.
I absolutely love the Jellycat range. They’re all so soft and there’s such a wonderful selection, but I think the Bashful Bunny and Fuddle-Wuddle Lion Soother are my two favourites.
But what about you, mama?
So your little one is now sleeping soundly and your own bedtime is fast approaching. As mums, we can find it hard to wind down, shut off our minds and completely relax. All things which are conducive to a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is so important for many reasons. It helps improve our immune system, our mood, our concentration, our performance and our skin! Sleep deprivation in adults is connected with depression, anxiety, obesity and diabetes, so making sure we have good sleep is essential.
So don’t be tempted to neglect your sleep. A bedtime routine is as important for you as it is for your little one.
A warm, relaxing bubble bath is the perfect way to end your day, and it helps to induce melatonin for you in the exact same way it does for your baby.
Keeping lights low is also super important to get you in a sleepy mood, so having a relaxing bath by candlelight is not only a lovely way to unwind, there’s scientific evidence behind it too. The Gisela Graham Lilac Mini Pillar candle is ideal.
Why not keep all your pamper goodies away from little hands in one of Powell Craft’s stunning washbags? Not only are they practical but they look beautiful on the bathroom shelf too. My personal favourite is the Teal Exotic Flower print.
When it comes to bedtime, try and keep screens switched off. Our busy work lives (or obsession with the latest Netflix series) makes it so tempting to keep our screens on in bed, but viewing screens overstimulates our brain and makes it harder for us to fall asleep.
Reading before bed or listening to a podcast is a great way to end the day and have some relaxing ‘me’ time.
And finally, snuggling down in soft PJs isn’t just a luxury for our little ones. Powell Craft’s beautiful Peach Blossom pyjamas, coupled with their Pink Exotic Eye Mask to keep any pesky light out, will help you feel as comfortable as possible. Treating ourselves and feeling good is as important when we’re asleep as when we’re awake!
So that just leaves me to say, sleep well and sweet dreams!
Amy is a certified baby and child sleep consultant based in Southampton, but supporting tired parents and their children across the UK. For more tips and advice on baby sleep take a look at Amy’s website.