If you’re like me, you are probably rocking the mom-bie look right now. You know the one; messy-bun, oversized t-shirt, no make-up, and bags under your eyes. I know this look all too well as I have had so many sleepless nights with my little one. And even on nights when my baby sleeps well, I still wake up every few hours to check on him – mom’s brain!
I know many mothers do all they can to encourage their little ones to sleep through the night as it can be exhausting having to get up every few hours to tend to your little one. Although this is a passing phase, it does tend to feel like forever, and some moms may get creative with better sleep remedies for their babies. Is this a wise option to explore?
Getting your little ones into a routine as far as night sleep is concerned can be made easier with sleep sprays specifically designed for babies. This gives moms that little bit extra as they establish a better sleeping routine for their baby.
Using sleep sprays is a personal choice, and each parent should weigh the pros up against the cons, perhaps with the input of your pediatrician so that an informed decision can be made.
Sleep sprays have helped many moms along the way and have generally improved the quality of sleep for their little ones. Besides the confirmed benefits of sleep sprays, babies learn to associate the spray’s scent to relaxation and sleep. As long as all the other elements contributing to contentment are in place, your baby should sleep well.
Sleep sprays should not be seen as a quick fix for an out of balance sleep routine. Efforts must still be put in to create a sleep environment where the sleep spray is more like an add-on for improved sleep.
First-time mothers should introduce routines for their little ones, and the bedtime routine might prove challenging, so discussed below are some ideas to consider.
Creating a Bedtime Routine
Routine for mother and baby is a controversial subject, almost like the chicken and the egg conundrum. Who controls or sets the routine, mom or baby? Not such an easy question to answer, but I’m sure we can all agree that it’s a tussle at the best of times, with boundaries being forever tested.
Babies are demanding and don’t work according to the clock. Their activity is primarily based on what they feel at any specific moment. They will call out for a meal in the early hours of the morning and fall asleep in a busy shopping mall. They do as they feel, and moms must bend to every demand, but the tables turn as your little one grows into their environment and routines are established.
Routine is one of the most important lessons for all children. It creates a sense of security and comfort. A good sleep routine is just as important as an activity routine and will lead to your baby sleeping through the night. A regular sleep pattern paves the way for a natural, peaceful night’s sleep.
You should have a wind-down period of about 20 minutes to half an hour before your little one’s bedtime. At this time, a bath followed by a gentle massage rounded off with a bedtime story or singing a lullaby will help to calm your baby. Their eyes will flutter and close as they drift off to sleep. Experts in the field confirm that a good sleep routine improves the quality of sleep.
In the beginning, you may have to go with your little one’s bedtime routine, which might be going to sleep later in the evening. There is no problem with doing this as you are keeping in line with your little one’s needs and not introducing something they will fight against.
As the days pass, you can slowly make the wind-down time a little earlier until you reach the desired bedtime that you want for your baby.
As far as scent is concerned, a mother’s natural scent is what calms infants most. This complemented by a calm emotional state, skin to skin time, and a full belly is what works best for little ones to travel off to dreamland.
Their feeling of being secure in mom’s embrace is all they need. Swaddling an infant has the same effect as it mimics your little one’s last home, your womb.
Sleeping and eating are pretty much what most babies do. But how do you encourage long peaceful sleep for your little one if the sleep routine you set doesn’t seem to work as anticipated? Sleep sprays and bath oils are said to do the trick, so let’s find out.
Sleep Spray Ingredients
THISWORKS Baby Sleep Pillow Spray is a popular spray on the market that contains lavender, ho wood, patchouli, and vetivert oils, good for any infant 6 months and up, and contains 100% natural botanical oils. Directions say to spray directly on sheets before bedtime, confirming that using a sleep spray will help aid your little one settle and ease them into natural restful sleep (without skin irritation).
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Sleep sprays are designed to supplement your baby’s sleep pattern, so they are more relaxed and at ease when they fall asleep. The hard work of creating a healthy sleep pattern and the daily wind-down time remains essential to developing a good sleep cycle for your little one.
Here are a few of the essential oils used in sleep spays:
Lavender is a purple flowering plant that belongs to the mint family and is a more common ingredient in sleep sprays. Studies have proved that lavender’s scent has a relaxing effect on people and promotes deep sleep. However, these studies also mention that the participants were told that lavender has a calming effect, so they expected to experience calmness during the trials. Why then does lavender work on babies if they are not aware of the impact?
Research indicates that lavender has a relaxing effect on both mother and baby, mostly due to lavender ability to decrease cortisol, a stress hormone. After a lavender treated bath, both mom and baby are more relaxed and bond more affectionately.
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Little ones tend to cry less often and sleep deeper for extended periods. Researchers attribute this to the baby’s perception of the mother’s calm emotional state. In short, a relaxed mom means a peaceful baby.
So, in essence, a mother has a more significant role to play in the emotional comfort of her little one than what lavender can do as a stand-alone remedy. Much like lavender oil, chamomile oil has similar relaxing qualities. As a sleep spray, lightly dusting your little one’s pillow with lavender reinforces the connection to a peaceful sleep.
There is a degree of caution to consider when using lavender oil as it contains estrogenic mimicking compounds. Three separate studies have confirmed that when lavender oil is applied directly to your baby’s skin, it may result in early breast development in preadolescents.
There is also agreement among medical professionals, including associations like the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians who do not advise the use of essential oils on new-borns up to 3 months of age.
There is currently very little research available on the subject, but the research that has been done gives a balanced review of the use of essential oils on infants older than three months.
The use of aroma diffusers to fill the bedroom with your choice’s scent creates a fresh and welcoming ambiance. Still, you should be aware of using them if your little one has respiratory issues like asthma or asthma runs in the family.
This is a yellow star-shaped flower that grows on the Cananga tree and is found in India, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia.
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It is used as a mood booster that reduces depression, anxiety, lowers blood pressure, decreases heart rate, stimulates oil production in the skin, repels flying insects, and kills their larvae. On its own, concentrated ylang-ylang oil may cause skin irritation. It is usually mixed with a carrier oil like sunflower oil or coconut oil.
This is a white flower that grows on the jasmine plant. It was first discovered in Iran but can now be found in most tropical climates.
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Although used in perfumes for its sweet scent, jasmine is also used to make tea and home remedies as a mood enhancer. It has antiseptic qualities that fight bacteria. Inhaling jasmine in the air has a sedative effect and is said to help people suffering from insomnia.
A fruit that is part of the orange family. The scent of mandarin is often used to substitute lavender’s smell, and it has similar health benefits.
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When diluted, mandarin will not irritate the skin and is safe to use on children older than three months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do sleep sprays work for all babies?
The simple answer is no. There are some products that babies respond to better than others. The main problem is skin irritation, and besides this, your baby might not like the odor of a specific sleep spray.
If you use a product and notice an adverse change in your baby’s behavior, stop using it and speak to your doctor about the specific spray. Your doctor will give you the best advice for your little one.
Will sleep sprays make my baby sleep longer?
Research on lavender and other essential oils indicates that babies will sleep deeper for longer, but this is not to say that all babies will respond in the same way. Some may sleep deeper but not for long. It depends on their feeding frequency, growth spurts, sleep environment, and of course, their bowel movements.
Their daily routine should differ from their nightly routine, and they should be as calm as possible at bedtime. Many parents are happy with their results from sleep sprays, but the choice is yours to make.
Do sleep sprays last the whole night?
For most sleep sprays, a single application to your baby’s pillow and bedding is all that is required.
Remember, sleep sprays are not sleeping pills. Your baby may wake up at night for several different reasons, like being bothered by a loud noise, or they could be hungry or irritated with a soaked or soiled diaper. Their sleep will be better because they will be more relaxed and what you want is for your little one to sleep well.
Using sleep sprays is a personal choice. If you decide to use these sleep aids, then be sure that your little one is older than three months from their due date and not actual birth, as premature babies take a little longer to develop. Babies tend to have very sensitive skin, and their respiratory system may react to irritants in the air.
Chat with your pediatrician about your baby’s sleeping habits and if sleep sprays will help him or her sleep better. Always read the instructions on the product and note the minimum age limit. Although many sprays are made from natural ingredients, they are not designed to be ingested, so don’t overspray your baby’s bedding and put them down on a wet pillow.
As you can gather from some of the essential oils used in baby sleep sprays, there is a common thread that focuses on relaxation and calmness. Your efforts to structure a routine sleeping pattern for your little one will encourage a better overall sleep pattern for your baby.
The trick is having your little one associate the aroma or scent of the sleep spray with sleep time, and that is why wind-down time is so important. During this time, your little one learns to recognize and respond to the scent of the essential oils.
The relaxing properties of essential oils have been confirmed by science but will not help much if your baby goes straight from a stimulating environment to bed. The quiet time before your bundle of love snoozes off is priceless so enjoy every moment.