How do I help my baby to relax before bedtime

Posted by: Josanne Verhoof in

The past hours that your little one has been awake, he has received a lot of stimuli. If we put him to bed immediately, he would probably become frustrated because he has not been given the opportunity to process these stimuli. Relaxing is difficult and sleeping might even not be possible at all. That is why it is important to use a wind down ritual for 15 to 30 minutes before going to sleep. This applies to both during the day and in the evening.

It is important that the wind down ritual lasts at least 15 minutes. If you see that your little one is not completely relaxed yet, you can extend the time to 30 minutes.

De 6 steps of the Wind Down ritual

  1. White noise

White noise is a constant rustling sound that gives your little one a safe and sound feeling. This because he also heard this constant white noise while he was still in the womb. This sound helps your little one to calm down more easily. In addition, white noise also blocks surrounding noises. Especially young babies are easily awakened by sudden sounds from the environment. White noise blocks these sounds, which helps your little to sleep through more easily. Would you like to know more about white noise? Then check out our blog: Everything about White Noise.

It is important that you already switch the white noise on during the wind down ritual. So you start playing this white noise from the moment you go upstairs and start the bed ritual. When you leave the room, make sure the sound is as loud as a vacuum cleaner.

The White Noise devices we recommend are:

Ewan the Dreamsheep

White Noise Device

2. Dark Room

Make sure the room where your little one is sleeping is dark (dark means you shouldn’t be able to read a book there). This dark environment applies both in the evening and during the day. A dark environment stimulates the brain to produce the sleep hormone “Melatonin”. Light blocks this production, which makes it difficult for your little one to fall asleep.

3. Swaddling

It is helpful to swaddle your little one until he is able to roll over. This gives him the same safe and sound feeling as what they experienced in the womb. In addition, it prevents your little one from waking up from the sudden movements he makes in his sleep, or when you put him down. This is due to the so-called “moro reflex” / “startle-reflex”. What you can also do to counteract this reflex when you put your little one down is to first put his feet and then his head. Do you want to know more about swaddling? Check out our blog: What is swaddling and how do you do it.

The swaddling blankets and sleepingbags we recommend are:

Miracle Blanket

Cotton Swaddle Blanket

Love to Dream

4-season Sleeping Bag

4. Pacifier

Babies are born with two sucking reflexes. The first one is his sucking reflex for food intake. They simply need this to survive. But in addition to the sucking reflex for food intake, they also have a sucking reflex to relax themselves. For this reflex, a pacifier can be very helpful. When a baby sucks, the hormone “Cholecystokinin” (CKK) is released. This will make your little one feel sleepy. For that reason, the pacifier can be helpful as part of the wind down ritual. Would you like to know more about pacifiers and how you can best use them? Then check out our blog: Welke fopspeen kies ik voor mijn kindje.

The pacifiers we recommend are:

Philips Avent Ultra Air

Glow in the Dark

Philips Avent

5. Read a book or sing a nursery rhyme

Reading and singing are not only stimulating for your little one’s language development, but it also helps him to relax. He can lean against you for a moment and listen to your voice. All the stimuli from the past hours are now given time to reduce, while also creating a nice moment for you together.

6. Cuddle

Make sure you turn off all the lights for the last 10 minutes and cuddle your little one for a while. The sense of closeness makes him feel safe and sound. The dark environment allows his brain to produce the hormone “Melatonin”, which makes your little one feel sleepy.