At first glance, babies may seem unpredictable, but here’s a secret: babies LOVE routines. If they could Google Calendar their activities, they definitely would. Think about it: When a baby misses her nap, is she chill about the whole thing? No, she’s cranky and fussy, and she’ll let you and everyone on your block know about it.
For babies, routines and rituals create much-needed structure, and that helps them navigate this big, confusing world they’ve just joined. By introducing rituals to your baby, you can help her transition between activities while creating a deeper bond between the two of you. In partnership with our friends at goodnest—a gentle, clean, super-sustainable baby care line that Ashley uses at home—we’ve identified three simple-but-meaningful daily rituals you can share with your baby.
Give a “bonding bath”
As you’re bathing your baby or toddler, narrate what you’re doing by describing your actions. (For instance, you might say, “I’m putting shampoo on your hair!” while lathering her up with baby wash.) At young ages, babies won’t understand the words, but they’ll engage with your voice and facial expressions—and that encourages bonding.
Try baby massage
Getting a massage feels good for adults. Surprise, it feels great for babies, too. Using gentle pressure, apply lotion or baby balm to your baby’s arms, legs, and chest—making sure to avoid the umbilical stump if it’s still there! Touch is not only a way to strengthen your connection, it’s an easy way to help your baby relax before a nap. (Yours and your baby’s, that is.)
You may already sing to your little one before naptime, but you might also want to sing a special song during certain routines. For example, singing the same song while washing hands or changing your baby’s diaper will give your little one an idea of how long the “task” will last—and that can help both of you get through it without tears.