Why bath time with baby is the key to a good night’s sleep – for you both
Sleep or lack of it has plagued parents for all of human history. It comes as somewhat of a shock to many new parents that a) babies aren’t hardwired in knowing how to transition from being awake to being asleep and b) unfortunately getting children to sleep isn’t as simple as a kiss on the forehead and a few rocks of the bassinet.
Given that sustained sleep deprivation is proven to be bad for our health, is it any wonder that sleep is the number one focus for most parents? If they sleep well, so do you. Fortunately there are some simple things you can do to set your child up for a night of sound slumber.
Bath time is the key to sleep
Whether you’re a fan of routine, or prefer a more baby-led way of things, bath time is the cornerstone of a healthy sleep routine for babies and children according to Annie Simpson of Infant Sleep Consultants. “Children thrive on familiarity and routine at bedtime,” she states. “Bath time is a clear signifier to children that sleep is near. Be consistent in your approach so that your child knows what’s coming next and feels reassured by it.”
“Bath time is a clear signifier to children that sleep is near.”
Sarah Turner, author of The Unmumsy Mum Diary and a mother of three boys, is a firm advocate of a nightly bath time routine. “With my eldest it was a classic case of first child – we had a daily bath time incorporating baby massage,” she recalls. “Now with three children, although we’ve completely failed with instilling any kind of regular naptime for my youngest, bath time is the one thing that makes us all happy.” Wash time is also playtime in Sarah’s home with plenty of toys in amongst the bubbles. “Kids love bubbles!”
The science on bath time and sleep
It’s not just about routine-signalling and fun. There’s good reasoning behind a daily bath time routine. Not only does it provide time out and a step change for children to begin the all-important mental wind down, but it helps kick start the sleep hormone melatonin.
Annie Simpson explains that once you get out of the bath body temperature drops by a degree which initiates a sleepy response. “It’s important to try and make the most of this, by getting children into bed straight after their bath – ideally within a forty-minute window. Let them have their milk or a final breastfeed and then a cuddly story before going to sleep.”
Bath time is good for mums too
There’s little doubt that bath time is an important daily milestone for frazzled parents too. As everyone knows, days can be long when you have small children. The late afternoon, otherwise often known as ‘the witching hour’, is a potent combination of universal tiredness, trying to get children to eat, frantically tidy up, battle through any homework and then get them ready for bed.
It’s little wonder that bath time often feels like a welcome relief – a moment to punctuate any tension. “It’s the one point in the day that there is nothing else to do but be present and talk to your children,” says sleep consultant Annie Simpson “It’s important to play, chat and bond with them one-to-one”.
Even if the sleep routine is a work in progress or you simply prefer to go with the flow, bath time is the one consistent thing you can do that is hard to get wrong. Just add water.
“Smells trigger our emotions and familiar scents can be immensely comforting for children and adults”
Bath time with Childs Farm
Scent can be a real mood changer according to sleep consultant Annie Simpson. “Smells trigger our emotions and familiar scents can be immensely comforting for children and adults,” she says.
Enter Childs Farm baby bedtime bubbles, formulated with organic tangerine essential oil, designed to relax, clean and moisturise even the most sensitive of infant skin. Beautifully mild and gentle, Childs Farm baby bedtime bubbles is suitable for newborns and upwards, and as with all Childs Farm products, it is dermatologist approved and helpful for those with sensitive and eczema prone skin.
Enjoy your family’s bath time and set them up for a good night’s sleep with Childs Farm.
Article & imagery: Childs Farm
By Estelle Lee, Childs Farm features editor