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Rest easy with tips to help baby go to sleep

Life & Style Weekend - - WELCOME // INSIDE TODAY - with Jody Allen

BABY mum­mas, we know the strug­gle of get­ting your lit­tle one down to sleep. We have been there. But, there are so­lu­tions. The one we love most is some­thing that we call The Wind Down.

Es­sen­tially, it’s a rou­tine that you fol­low pretty con­sis­tently on a nightly ba­sis to cue your child into the fact that bed­time is com­ing. Be­lieve us, this will change the balance of con­trol at bed­time, par­tic­u­larly if your child is at the top of the dog pile.

The Wind Down works well for ba­bies, but we’ve found sim­i­lar rou­tines with adapted wind-down ac­tiv­i­ties can work just as well for tod­dlers and slightly older kids.

Why use a wind-down rou­tine?

A wind-down rou­tine is there to sig­nal to your child that bed­time is on the way. It should be con­sis­tent, and that con­sis­tency is comforting for your child. It’s also a good way to calm your child, and it’s great if it con­tains ac­tiv­i­ties that pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity for phys­i­cal touch, cud­dling and be­ing to­gether.

Good wind-down ac­tiv­i­ties

1. Warm bath/shower: Hav­ing a warm bath or shower is a won­der­ful way to start a wind down rou­tine. Of course, for young ba­bies, reg­u­lar wash­ing is not nec­es­sary and can ag­i­tate them more. The key with re­lax­ing your baby in a bath is to re­ally ease them in, put some calm­ing mu­sic on or some white noise, or just talk and sing to them. Make lots of slow move­ments.

2. Baby mas­sage: We aren’t talk­ing about a shi­atsu or any­thing in­tense, but a very gen­tle mas­sage can be su­per calm­ing for ba­bies, and it also gives you a chance to have some nice time to­gether. Re­mem­ber, ba­bies are calmed and feel more con­nected through phys­i­cal touch. Just get a sen­si­tive lo­tion and put some on your hands be­fore rub­bing it in dur­ing your mas­sage. Now, while we def­i­nitely think the first two parts of the wind down rou­tine, i.e. the warm bath and the baby mas­sage, are must-dos, the next few are op­tional.

3. Gen­tle mu­sic: Play­ing calm­ing mu­sic can have such a re­lax­ing ef­fect on a child, par­tic­u­larly a baby. The is­sues that ba­bies have strug­gling with sleep are of­ten ex­plained by be­ing over­stim­u­lated, so a bit of soft mu­sic, or even a calm­ing lul­laby, can make all the dif­fer­ence.

4. Read: Even if your child can’t read or speak, there are ben­e­fits to get­ting them into a rou­tine of pre-bed­time read­ing. Lit­er­acy re­ally does start early, and it is pro­moted by any read­ing or word-based ac­tiv­i­ties. Plus, the sound of a parental voice can re­ally make a child drowsy.

5. White noise: If your baby has older sib­lings that go to bed later than them, in­vest in some­thing that pro­duces white noise. White noise is noise that fills up the back­ground, like rain fall­ing or even just the noise of static. It can be re­lax­ing.

Jody Allen is the founder of Stay At Home Mum: stay­ath­ome­mum.com.au

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

A wind-down rou­tine may help rest­less ba­bies go to sleep faster.

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