As many of you will know if you’ve followed me for a while now, the one routine I have always stuck to and am consistent with is Maddie’s bedtime routine. Maybe this naturally stemmed from me as I always prefer having routines, but I swear having a clear bedtime routine is what always makes Maddie settle easily and peacefully at night.
Maddie’s had a structured bedtime routine ever since her first bath at 4 weeks old. Naturally it’s adapted slightly with the timings and steps involved in it now she’s a toddler, but it’s still an established and consistent routine. I’ve always believed repetition is key, not only to create good habits, but to also help Maddie’s development.
Since becoming a mum, I’ve discovered that bedtime is so much more than a routine. It’s a time of bonding and connection. During this time SO many of her senses are stimulated; what she smells, hears, touches and feels, and I was fascinated learning more about the multisensory experience bath/bedtime can be for little ones at our last Johnson’s Baby ambassador day.
Johnson’s Baby understand the importance of a good night’s sleep, which is why they developed they’re clinically proven bedtime routine which consists of 3 simple steps; 1 – bath time, 2 – gentle massage, 3 – quiet time. Our current bedtime routine (at 15 months old) is pretty similar and includes these 3 steps within it…
Dinner – 5/5:30pm
In my head, dinner is the start of the bedtime routine. It’s the last meal of the day and as soon as Maddie’s finished her dinner, I whisk her upstairs for a bath, normally because she’s covered in food! (It baffles me just HOW messy she gets!?!)
Bath - 6pm
Now I know some people prefer not to bath their kids every day, but Maddie absolutely loves her baths and she’s definitely a natural water baby!! Having bath time as an everyday ritual actually makes it less stressful and more predictable for baby’s and parents. It also influences emotion and memory in the brain and promotes relaxation for both parent and baby. I always run the bath with a drop of Johnson’s Baby bedtime bath, and use the bedtime baby wash to give her a little scrub, plus the smell of it always makes us calm and sleepy!! I try to wash Maddie’s hair every other night, but in all honesty it completely depends on how messy she’s gotten at dinner haha! We love to play with toys in the bath and always play music too! Sometimes I still like to join Maddie in the bath. I’ve always loved having that skin-to-skin contact and it definitely has made my bond with Maddie stronger.
Massage, hair & pjs - 6:15pm
After bath, I have always moisturized Maddie and done like a mini massage routine. Granted this is getting a LOT harder these days as she barely sits still for more than 30 seconds! So I try to teach her the different parts of her body as I massage to keep it interesting for her. We’ll start with toes, feet, legs, tummy, arms etc. Massage is one of those steps when if you’re tired and just want to get baby off to bed, it can be tempting to skip!! However, having learnt from Johnson’s Baby that not only does routine massage leads to improved cognitive performance and increased alertness and attentiveness, but also studies have shown that touch and massage can improve sleep quality and quantity as part of a consistent routine; I now definitely try to never miss out having that important touch post bath. After massage, it’s then time to get her nappy on, hair combed and pjs on!
Quiet time - 6:30pm
This has to be my favorite part of our bedtime! Having this quiet time together is just such a wonderful bonding time together. We like to either sit and watch In The Night Garden having cuddles on the sofa, or we sit in Maddie’s room and read a few books together.
Last bottle & self sooth - 7pm
Once we’ve had our quiet time, Maddie then takes her last bottle and settles off to sleep. I’m very lucky that Maddie has always self-soothed herself to sleep from about 4 months old. I can often hear her chatting away to herself in her cot for about 10 minutes before she drifts off to sleep. I believe if it wasn’t for the “quiet time” step prior to this, it would be a completely different story!! Then Maddie’s always asleep around 7pm.
From my personal experience with Maddie, even as she grows, I still want to try and maintain and good bedtime ritual as I know it helps her settle and sleep better than if I didn’t stick to one. If you’re feeling a bit stuck or uninspired by your routine, I hope sharing mine maybe gives you a few new ideas to try! I would also love to hear about your routines too!
Lots of love, Bethany x
*This post has very kindly been sponsored by Johnson’s Baby UK as part of their Ambassador programme. I have always loved and used Johnson’s Baby products even before working with them.
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