Hi my loves! Hope you all are off to a great week! Today’s post is a personal one, much about Alessandra and tradition. As many of you know I had initially planned to breastfeed for a year, for nutritional benefits but also because it’s one of the most intimate and effective ways to create a bond that will last a lifetime with your baby. My grandmothers breastfed, my mother and sister breastfed all of their children, and I had looked forward to doing the same. Unfortunately I was hospitalized for appendicitis weeks after giving birth and lost my milk. I got very worried that I would not be able to properly bond with Alessandra, that I wouldn’t forge the same close bond I have with my mother. It made me feel incompetent. When she would cry, I felt like I had no way to comfort her. I felt that she didn’t know I was her mom and how much I loved her.
During this tough, transitional period of time, the thing that helped most and that I attribute to us becoming undeniably connected to one another was bath time. The bath became a place where I could help my baby relax, have fun, or feel safe. The bath was a place for her to build trust in me, to learn that as her mother I’ll always hold her up and comfort her when she needs it. We were building her first memories. Once I’d place her in the warm water, her tiny body would immediately relax, and then I’d be able to gently shampoo her hair and wash her body. As a baby and all through my childhood, my mother used Johnson’s Baby No More Tears Shampoo, so naturally, it was my first choice for my baby. I hadn’t used it since I was about seven or so, but the first time I opened the bottle to use on Alessandra, and got a whiff of that soothing scent, I was transported right back to my own childhood: splashing and blowing bubbles with my mom, singing songs in the tub, playing with favorite bath toys, and learning my ABC’s. I hope that in the future, Alessandra will be able to look back and remember our sweet times during her baths.
The science of scent is really such an incredible thing. Scent is powerful, especially for infants and babies whose other senses are not as developed early on. Scent has direct access to the areas of the brain that actually store memories, which is why even as an adult, when smelling a familiar scent from our childhood, we can be transported right back. This is why Johnson Baby takes pride in maintaining the classic, soft and soothing scents in their products that we grew up with in childhood. Just as they’ve helped us lock in some of our fondest early memories, they will hopefully have the same effect on our children.
Also by using a familiar scented product repetitively, like the Baby Shampoo during baths or the Johnson’s Baby Bedtime Soothing Lotion for a gentle massage before bedtime, you are creating a tradition in the most simplest sense, and this can have a calming effect on your baby because she knows what to expect.
We’ve now created a simple night routine that really helps her sleep well: a warm bath (as I mentioned above, I use Johnson’s Baby Shampoo to wash her hair, and I really like Johnson’s Cottontouch Wash because it’s extremely moisturizing), then a few minutes of massage after her bath with Johnson’s Bedtime Baby Lotion (the soft lavender scent helps relax her further), and then we read a story and have one last bottle and cuddle time before I put her down in her crib. It’s in these final moments of each day, when Alessandra is completely relaxed in my arms, looking up at me with her big eyes and drifting off to sleep peacefully, I know that we have forged the bond I was yearning for so deeply.
Thank you Johnson & Johnson for sponsoring this post!