BurlingtonVT Moms Blog is partnering with Phoenix Physical Therapy to bring you our latest series titled “50 Shades of Sleep”, about…you guessed it….sleep. Like an elusive treasure, we find ourselves obsessing about sleep not only for ourselves but for our children as well. Although we may not consciously recognize it we are constantly making decisions surrounding the subject of sleep. Is it OK to co-sleep? Can babies really be trained to sleep? What are night terrors? When do you move your child from your bed to the bassinet or to his own crib or into his own bed? Does the thought of SIDS scare everyone? Is it normal for kids to wet the bed and up to what age? And does it all change when they get older? Our goal through this series is to invite you into an open conversation about all things sleep, and to acknowledge that no matter your struggles or choices, you are never alone.
Scents and Sounds of Sleep
One family’s method to creating a calming bedtime routine.
Like many new parents we struggled with what was the best plan of attack when it came to putting our infant son to bed at night. After winging it for a while and trying new things each night, we finally found an easy routine that utilizes gentle sounds and calming scents. Not only is it easy and enjoyable to do, but it creates a time between parent and child that is free of the distractions that bombard us daily allowing us to truly connect with our baby.
Brennan is almost 6 months old now. His bedtime is around 7/7:30 depending on what time he woke up from his afternoon nap. About an hour before we expect he will be ready to sleep, we turn off all of the daytime noises. This includes any noisy toys, upbeat music, ringtones on cellphones, computer alerts and removing the dog’s collar. We then dim the lights where we can and turn Pandora to a calming piano station (Brian Crain is our pick!). This sets the mood and signals to Brennan that it is time to wind down and relax.
Most nights we give Brennan a warm bath. While drawing the water we add 1-2 drops of lavender essential oil and mix it in. We then bath him gently and quietly, letting him splash around a little and get his daytime wiggles out. The scent of the lavender and the calming piano music really create the perfect pre-bedtime atmosphere.
It is important to note that essential oils should not be used directly on a baby’s skin as it can burn them. Always dilute any essential oils with a carrier oil or water. Read on to find out more!
After his bath we dry him off and then use a mix of sweet almond oil with a few drops of lavender oil to give him a massage. If you have any nut allergies in your immediate family then it is best to avoid using nut oils. Since we do not have any diagnosed nut allergies, we like the sweet almond oil as it is nourishing to Brennan’s skin. We then do not need to use lotion after his bath. The lavender oil once again aids in creating a calm, relaxed environment. Infant massage is also a wonderful time to connect with your baby! Additional benefits of infant massage as well as some techniques can be seen here.
There are many different “carrier” oils that you can use for infant massage: sweet almond oil, coconut oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil to name a few. A good rule of thumb is that if you can eat it, you can use it, therefore it is best to avoid actual ‘baby oil’ which is petroleum based.
When we move up to Brennan’s room to read a book and cuddle before bed, we once again make sure the light in his bedroom is dim. Although we did not want to have him come to rely on a sound machine to sleep, we do have a “waves” sound that we play for him while the rest of the house is still awake and moving around. It helps to muffle any sudden sounds while he is settling in and create a calm atmosphere in his room.
During the day for nap time we use a homemade lavender spray on Brennan’s bed sheet and around the room.
To make a homemade lavender spray you will need:
This could also one day double as a “Anti-Monster Spray” if needed. 🙂
I will not claim that our way is the best way, but it works for our family at this very moment. 🙂 Give some of these calming things a try at your next bed time and let us know how it works!