Parents will search high and low for a sleep routine that works for their baby. It takes trial and error to land on a solution that suits your baby and their needs, though. While some babies seem to be "natural sleepers," others need a little more help. Some sleep training routines can be pretty intricate, though, and when your sleep deprived "easy" is the name of the game. So, are the rumors true? Do babies sleep better after a bath? Or, like way too many baby sleep suggestions and unsolicited advice these days, is it an old wive's tale that us desperate parents can leave behind in the days of parenting past?
According to Parents, creating a solid bedtime routine is an essential step to helping your baby wind down so they can go to sleep and, if the stars align, sleep through the night. If you skip a series of steps your baby has come to expect, you'll risk interrupting a good night's sleep. It's understandable. Adults need the same consideration to quiet the day's noise, so why would your baby need any different, right? So, according to Parents, if running a warm bath has become part of that nighttime routine, you shouldn't skip it. This doesn't necessarily mean the bath is a seep crutch, but instead, just another helpful tool in your put-baby-to-bed arsenal. The established form of relaxation can help ease your baby into what they've come to rely on as "nighttime mode," so he, or she, can drift off to sleep just a little bit easier.
The Baby Sleep Site, however, states that while children do need and depend on schedules, bath time may not necessarily help your baby go to sleep, depending on your baby's personality. The site goes on to say that the act of a bath may actually waken your baby, rather than help them go to sleep. Babies don't always need a bath, either, so it's important to weight the pros and cons as to whether you notice a daily, scheduled bath is actually helping or not. For example, if a daily bath is drying out your baby's skin, you should ditch the bath and create another sleep routine that doesn't involve suds.
Dr. Jodi Mindell, a clinical psychologist specializing in pediatric sleep medicine, seconds the importance of bathing babies to prepare them for a good night of sleep. Having partnered with Johnson's and their 3-step sleep routine, Mindell is confident that by incorporating a warm bath (preferably using a lavender-fragranced wash), a gentle, soothing lotion massage after, and dedicated quiet time, your baby will spend 25 percent less time crying before they go to sleep, and will also enjoy a better quality sleep.
Dr. William Sears, MD and author of over 40 pediatric books, says that whatever you do to prepare baby for sleep, consistency is key. If bath time has been made part of the schedule, and it doesn't seem to be negatively affecting your child in any way, keeping it this way will set your baby up for a solid night's sleep.
When it comes to your baby, it's important to remember what works for some may not work for you and yours. Then again, a soothing bath at the end of the day might be worth a try.