When I was contacted by Johnsons to try out their new JOHNSONS BEDTIME Baby Sleep App, designed for parents who have little ones who could do with a few more zzzz’s at night, I leapt at the chance.
Compared to how things used to be, I really can’t complain but given that 4.30am seems to be Bells’ favourite hour to start the day (what EVEN is that hour?), anything that offered a glimmer of a little more sleep had to be worth a try.
Aware that baby’s sleep habits can change as they grow, the app is designed to help you track and learn your baby’s habits, provide sleep-analysis and recommendations as well as offering the only nighttime routine proven to help babies aged 7-36mths sleep better. Safe to say, as soon as I was contacted, I downloaded it from the app store, there was no hanging about!
First I answered some questions about Bells and her sleep, for example where she sleeps, what she sleeps in, how she falls asleep, how often she wakes, what time we start her routine etc. The app then gave me an analysis score of her sleep along with recommendations for how to improve the areas that are weaker.
I found this really interesting – the analysis looked at 5 key areas – falling asleep, sleep routine, sleep duration, night waking and family (your sleep or lack thereof). For us, the areas that could do with tweaking are falling asleep and night waking (which could be related I should add). I’m very aware that Bells usually nods off when she’s being fed and I need to get her used to falling asleep on her own in her bed, but I’m trying not to stress too much about that at the moment and just enjoying the cuddles – the time is going so quickly after all.
Night waking is definitely something that I’d like to change. This had got much better until recently but now she’s awake again a few times a night… what with teething, trying to get mobile and starting nursery, there’s a lot going on and leaving her to settle on her own has gone out of the window.
Also included in the app is JOHNON’S 3-step bedtime routine. Now, let me start by adding that before I had Bells, I was determined that I was going to be one of those easy going mama’s, no routines for me. She’d fit into my life, not the other way around. Then I quickly learned that routine = sleep and so now whilst daytimes don’t follow a regimented routine, bedtimes definitely do.
The routine is designed to help babies to fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer and consists of bathtime followed by a gentle massage and then quiet time to lull them to sleep. For us, bathtime always starts at 6pm. One of my favourite times of the day is when I’m massaging Bells after her bath (definitely not when Dickie’s doing it, as you can read here). It’s our bonding time, where we get skin-to-skin contact and my heart melts as she chuckles when I massage her tickly bits. When it comes to quiet time, I’ve always sworn by white noise and the app also comes with a load of ambient sounds or lullabies, whatever floats your boat. Personally, I couldn’t live without white noise… now I can even hoover when Bells is in bed and she doesn’t stir.
Slightly OCD, I only recently stopped using my baby tracking app, and that was only because Bells has started nursery. However, the app has a sleep tracking facility which really helps when it comes to assessing how your baby’s sleep is changing. I’m ALL OVER IT.
A week in and I can genuinely say that we’ve started to see some improvement in Bells’ sleep pattern. A lot of the advice given in the app is stuff that I’d been aware of before but actually physically seeing her sleep habits and having tailored advice has given me the confidence to make some changes… for example not jumping up to feed her each time she murmurs in the night 😉
Now I know it probably sounds as though Johnsons have paid me to write this, but I can assure you that they genuinely haven’t. I remember buying every book on the shelf in Waterstones (yep, I still go paper) in vain in the hope that it would somehow contain the answer to allow me more sleep. I just believe us parents should stick together when it comes to our sleep thieves.