Forget a regimented ‘no eye contact’, ‘self-soothing’ bed-time routine, Marie Claire’s Beauty Director Lisa Oxenham gets her baby to sleep after a decent, snooze-inducing pamper, and here’s precisely how she does it...


Consistency at bedtime is key for babies for a few reasons. First, it has been proven to improve the quality of sleep in babies who have had sleep problems. Second, the evening is an opportunity for bonding time and having a routine in place helps reduce chaos and anxiety for both baby and mother. Finally, as energy and willpower ebb as the day progresses, knowing how the day will end is a source of comfort - and means that being present and not fretting is much easier. 
While finding a specific routine is really a case of trial and error and finding what works for you and your baby, I’ve found that these steps work enormously well to leave my daughter Eliza (and me) feeling special, relaxed, and sleepy. 
1.  Bath time. I aim to get Eliza in the bath for 6.30pm – that way she can enjoy the evening fun before she becomes fractious. I’ve been trialling Mustela’s Normal Skincare range and love the Multi-Sensory Bubble Bath – it’s super gentle and leaves her skin clean, soft and hydrated thanks to the marine trace elements that help maintain the skin’s water balance.  It’s important to me that this product is as natural as possible. I’ll wash her hair once a week with their Gentle Shampoo that is soap-free to prevent a dry scalp and I love that it contains Avocado Perseose, patented natural ingredient that protects the skin barrier, moisturizes, and preserves her skin’s cellular richness, and chamomile extract to soften her delicate curly locks. I pat her dry, brush her teeth and comb her hair. 
2.  Relax with massage. Easing Eliza into sleepy time starts with a massage. I use soothing Mustela Baby Oil that contains avocado oil that helps to restore and protect her natural skin barrier, and pomegranate seed oil and sunflower oil to moisturise. My tip is to start with at the toes and move with long, firm strokes up the body in the direction of the heart. I then stretch her whole body leaving her drowsy and happy. 
3.  Hot chocolate. After I’ve put her nappy and PJs on, we whip up a hot chocolate with organic cocoa, crushed cardamom pods, honey and warm almond milk and drink it while we snuggle together in bed so she has a full tummy to see her through the night (or as much of it as possible!).
4.  One last feed. Next, I breast-feed her until she settles, telling her stories with a soft, gentle voice, to widen her imagination and create positive and optimistic visions. She will only sleep in bed with me so I am letting her until she’s older. Darkness helps to trigger sleep hormones, which can help your baby to nod off more easily, so if late evening or early morning light creeps into the room, blackout blinds can help.


5.  Wait 10 minutes. I wait until she is in a deep sleep, then wait another five minutes, just to be sure. At this stage I’m so chilled out I’m ready for sleepy-byes too - but this is such a great opportunity to catch up on chores before I can succumb!
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