A Natural Bedtime Routine for Restful Sleep
24 April 2020 | Admin
Whether you have just welcomed your first baby into the family or your second, third or fourth – sleep will most likely be something you find yourself thinking and talking about a lot more. As many of us know, parents often don’t get enough sleep for lots of reasons, from night feeds all the way through to monsters under the bed!
The good news is that there are ways to promote a restful night’s sleep for your little ones and in turn for you. One of the most gentle and helpful ways to send your children off to the land of dreams is a well-established bedtime routine that is in line with our body’s natural needs.
Learn here why this works for so many families and find some useful suggestions on what a natural bedtime routine could look like for your family!
Creatures Of Habit – Sleeping With Routine
We're all creatures of habit. According to a study carried out by the University College London, it takes 66 days on average to form a new habit. During those 66 days, it is vital to stay in the game and be consistent in doing exactly the things that will eventually become your new habit - and part of your life.
The same goes for sleep. In order to help your newborn baby, and older children, to wind down and sleep as well and as restfully as possible, a natural and repeated routine, that will eventually turn into an automatic bedtime habit, is key!
Tried & Tested Suggestions For Your Natural Bedtime Routine
When you are setting up your own natural bedtime routine, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. When choosing your routine, choose something that suits your family and is realistic.
Winding Down & Setting A Peaceful Scene
Days can be intense (especially in pandemic times!) – not just for adults, but also, and especially for, babies. So many new discoveries and skills on almost a daily basis can mean that by the evening little ones are entirely overwhelmed and find it hard to wind down. Creating a calm environment is the first step towards a restful night’s sleep.
1. Switch off TVs, radios and any other devices, dim the lights and speak in a soft voice.
3. Instead of a bath, or even afterwards, a gentle massage might help your newborn baby to relax.
You don’t need to be an expert massage therapist for this. General gentle touch from you will promote a feeling of calm. Warm a drop of Earth Friendly Baby Calming Lavender Body Lotion in your hands and softly massage it into your baby’s skin. Begin with the legs and work your way up with gentle movements. The warmth of your hand and the gentle touch in combination with the scent of the lavender will lull you both into a bubble of calm and serenity. This could be accompanied by a lullaby or a little story told by you. By the way, a massage is not just beneficial in a baby’s bedtime routine. Older children and even adults benefit greatly from a gentle evening massage!
Peacefully Into Bed
Once your children have their winding down routine done and are in their PJ's, its time to go to bed. Helping your kids with this step of physically letting go of the day can look very different.
1. Lots of children love to hear a story while being cuddled up to you.
2. Others just enjoy silent cuddles or only want to hold hands for a while.
3. Babies and younger kids often find great comfort in nursing to sleep or having a bottle at this stage:
Despite many common myths, having breastfeeding or a bottle as part of your bedtime routine won’t create a rod for your own back. On the contrary, babies are born with a reflexive need to suck (even when they are not feeding). To an infant, sucking is more than just a method of eating - it gives them comfort and security - hence it's hugely beneficial in terms of sleep. If your little one has a very high need to suck, to an extent that it breaks up their nights, a Natural Hevea Soother might be a great way to help them get more restful sleep!
Newborn babies and young children wake up during the night. That is a fact and it is totally natural, however, with the right tools and routine you can keep these wake ups to a minimum. While a lot of times your baby will wake up to feed, other times they might just be looking for comfort, which in reality means: they are looking for you.
A soft comforter that smells of you!
In addition to or instead of a soother/pacifier, a soft comforter made from natural organic cotton, like our popular Keptin Jnr Toddel will add extra comfort and reassurance. It feels soft against their skin and most importantly, they smell of you - if you just keep the comforter close to your own body during the day it will carry the secure smell of you at night-time.
An ergonomic mattress:
For newborn babies, the Cocoonababy Nest is an award winning bestseller that can also contribute to uninterrupted sleep. Your baby will feel safe and snug and reassured because the shape of the Cocoonababy resembles the natural snug position your baby is used to from inside the womb. As their spine is still in a C shape, it also helps them lie ergonomically with their knees slightly raised. As it's slightly raised at the top, it can also prevents reflux, and the startle reflex that can wake them from sleep. It was invented by midwives in France so it comes from an expert place!
Why Keep It Natural?
Many big companies have long realised that baby’s sleep is a lucrative business. The shops are full of gadgets and newly invented products that all promise the one thing new parents crave the most: Sleep! However, while electronic products and smart gadgets might work for some, they will have the opposite effects on most babies. Lights, sounds and especially screens are known to stimulate the brain and while this will eventually lead to tiredness and sleep, it doesn’t promote peaceful and truly restful sleep.
Babies have found their natural sleep rhythm for millions of years with the gentle help of their parents and nature itself. So trying to establish a natural bedtime routine for your family is embedded in our instincts and will be something you will benefit from in the long run.
When it comes to mattresses and bedding, chose organic and natural materials if possible - just think how many hours your baby and children spend there - it's not great if those products are filled with chemicals and toxins that they can potentially breathe in. The materials used in the Little Green Sheep mattresses we sell are naturally fire retardant so no chemicals are needed. Read more here.
If you chose organic cotton bedding, you are protecting the environment from chemical fertilisers and pesticides used in regular cotton, but you are also buying a more durable product that will last a lot longer because the fibres aren't weakened by chemicals and will stay much softer too.
Keeping It Simple For Naturally Restful Sleep
Even though a routine is key when it comes to children’s sleep, it is even more important to keep things simple. Choose a routine that is realistically manageable for you and your family and is in line with nature. Keep in mind that our suggestions above are merely that – suggestions - and while they do have a valued place in many bedtime routines, they are not worth it if you feel under pressure or stressed implementing them.
Keep it simple: Once you are relaxed and calm, your little ones will feel relaxed and calm and find it a lot easier to wind down for bedtime!
Do you have a good bedtime routine for your children? We would love to hear your tips!