So far, 2016 has been the year of the baby. It started with the birth of my niece in February, and countless friends and family members have given birth since, the most recent being my brand-new nephew, who was born about three weeks ago, and another nephew, who’s on the way!
If I’ve learnt one thing from being surrounded by so many new mamas over the past few months, it’s that Beanie truly was (is) a bad sleeper. I remember him waking up hourly between the hours of 1am and 8am every single night from when he was about 6 weeks old until roughly 12 weeks. He woke up at 4am without fail every night up until he was about two and a half years old, sometimes waking up for a feed at around 1am as well. Looking back, I don’t quite know how I managed, but it really didn’t seem that bad while I was in the thick of it. Well, most nights, anyway.
Other nights? I was desperate for a full night of uninterrupted sleep. So desperate that I’ve tried just about every bedtime trick under the sun, from giving him a baby massage before bed to dropping his afternoon nap. (Not a good idea, trust me. I’ll take a sleepless night over a grumpy toddler any day!)
While testing all the different tips and tricks I came across on parenting blogs and websites, I happened upon my own little bedtime trick, which – while not exactly a miracle sleeping cure – really helped to get Beanie to drift off sooner in the evenings and seemed to lull him into an even deeper sleep than usual. (It also works a treat on mamas – I often use this little concoction for myself after a long day or when I’m finding it difficult to switch off from work).
What exactly is this nifty little tip for a better bedtime, you ask? I like to toss a handful of good ol’ Epsom Salts (you can buy a box at your local Pick ‘n Pay – or any grocery store, for that matter) into Beanie’s bath water, along with a few drops of SOiL’s Organic Baby Massage Oil (R95). This gentle baby massage oil is an organic blend of olive oil, Roman chamomile and lavender oil to help soften your baby’s skin while calming and soothing his or her senses at the same time. I initially bought it to use it as a post-bath massage oil, but after falling into love with Lulu & Marula’s Calming Bath Oil for myself, I decided to try creating my own, baby-friendly version for Beanie (essential oils are not advised for young babies or pregnant women)… and so my Epsom Salts and Baby Massage Oil combo was born!
I wouldn’t say that all our sleep troubles were magically cured overnight, but as I mentioned earlier, I certainly noticed that Beanie was a whole lot calmer and went off to sleep much faster after a bath using these products. I find that it’s just a lovely, soothing addition to a gentle, calming bedtime routine, and even I’ve been known to smear this massage oil all over my limbs before bed. It’s just the most comforting, subtle scent. (As an aside, it contains many of the same ingredients and oils as Oh-Lief’s Natural Olive Baby Shampoo & Body Wash, so if you’re a fan of using Oh-Lief’s wash on your littlie – like I am – you’ll love SOiL’s Baby Massage Oil. It’s like the baby version of fragrance layering!)