Consistancy is key when establishing an infant’s bedtime routine.
Most parents know the frustration of trying to lull a restless baby to sleep. A variety of natural remedies are available that can help soothe agitated babies. These non-medicinal remedies help to ease babies into a more relaxed state so that parent and baby alike can get some much needed sleep.
Just like adults, a warm bath does wonders in helping a baby feel more relaxed, which can help lead to sleep. Giving baby a warm bath just before bedtime on a nightly basis will establish a bedtime routine and signal the baby that it is time for bed. Putting a few scented drops of lavender oil in the bathwater has also been known to soothe restless babies and help them feel more relaxed.
Another tried-and-true method of helping babies relax before bed is infant massage. Infant massage is most effective when given after a warm bath and can be done while you are rubbing your baby down with baby lotion. According to a 2008 article published in Parenting Science, infants that were given massages had greater levels of nocturnal melatonin, the hormone responsible for inducing drowsiness. To perform an infant massage, start with the feet and gently massage the legs from the feet up to the thigh area. After each leg is complete, gently massage the arms starting with each hand and working your way up. Turn the baby onto his stomach and, using the pads of the fingertips, gently rub small circles all over the back.
Infants are born with the natural urge to suckle to prepare for breast feeding. If your baby does not suck his fingers or thumb, providing a pacifier can help soothe his urge to suck and help lull him to sleep. In addition to helping baby sleep, pacifiers have been shown to provide supplemental health benefits. The Mayo Clinic staff also published an article online regarding how babies who use a pacifier during sleep have a reduced risk of developing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
White noise or soothing sounds played at bedtime, have been shown to help infants fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer than babies not exposed to white noise. Any soft sound or music can be used each time baby is put down to bed. Not only has white noise been shown to soothe restless babies, it has been shown to help establish a pattern that signals to baby it is time for sleep. Examples of white noise include recorded sounds of the ocean or rainfall, soft lullaby music or the recorded sounds of the womb, which is a sound most familiar to newborns.