Expert advice to get your little one to sleep, thanks to a step-by-step bedtime routine and app.
If you struggle with trying to get your baby to sleep, you are in good company. According to a sleep study commissioned by Johnson & Johnson, nearly a quarter (24 percent) of parents surveyed perceived their children as having sleep problems, such as falling asleep without being nursed or rocked and waking up multiple times during the night.
With this in mind, the company set out to develop Johnson's 3-Step Bedtime Routine to combat those sleep difficulties and help parents get their little ones to sleep. The results have proven themselves, with twice the number of moms reporting that their infants slept well after putting this routine in place.
Getting quality sleep is imperative for every aspect of daily life. According to Lisa Meltzer, Ph.D., the author of Pediatric Sleep Problems: A Clinician's Guide to Behavioral Interventions, sleep is essential for a child's physical growth, as well as their cognitive, social and emotional development. "Every baby has a few bad nights' sleep here or there, but for those babies without consistent sleep routines and sufficient sleep duration on a regular basis, the cumulative impact of this sleep can play a significant role in their development," she explains.
Putting a consistent bedtime routine into place not only helps babies sleep better and longer, but it creates a more soothing environment as a whole. "When parents use a regular bedtime routine, they are more likely to have a set bedtime, and this consistent sleep schedule also helps babies fall asleep faster," notes Meltzer. "The bedtime routine provides a special time for families, supporting close interactions, and helping the baby to fall asleep easier."
To help put this plan into action, Johnson created a three-step bedtime routine and tested it with more than 400 moms and their infants and toddlers. David Mays, director of global scientific engagement in scientific affairs, and Christina Lee, principal scientist, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., describe this routine as one that "engages the senses and gives baby a better night's sleep."
The first step includes a warm bath that helps baby know it's time to sleep. Massage is next, which can help baby sleep better. "Familiar and pleasant scents can make the baby feel happy and relaxed and lead to better well-being by enhancing baby's mood and emotions," they say. The last step, quiet time, offers the opportunity to help baby wind down with soothing activities such as reading, singing or listening to music.
After seven days of using this routine, babies fell asleep 37 percent faster, woke up 38 percent less frequently and spent 32 percent less time awake. Moms also reported that their babies stayed asleep up to one hour longer and woke up in a better mood.
The free app
The free download includes a sleep log that can be used to track baby's sleep sessions, an instructional video that spells out each step in the bedtime routine, access to sleep experts that can answer sleep-related questions, a sleep training guide for creating a sleep schedule, and Johnson's Tonight We Sleep Lullaby.
"These lullabies are underpinned by research on the sounds to which babies are most receptive," notes Mays and Lee. "They have a simple 6/8-time signature to emulate a swaying, rocking motion. They also have a slow tempo based around 70 beats per minute to mimic the familiar beat of mom's average resting heart rate, which has been shown to help soothe infants to sleep."