Does your little one often wake up crying in the middle of the night? Or do they fuss and resist at bedtime? Or maybe they only want to sleep in your arms?
New parents soon discover that the good ol’ phrase “sleeping like a baby” isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it’s very common for your baby to protest when being put down to sleep and to wake up crying a few hours, or even minutes, after falling asleep.
So, if your baby tosses, turns or fusses all night, here’s one amazing tip ALL parents can follow to get your baby sleep better and longer!
It’s to give them a massage before you put them down!
There are so many wonderful emotional and physical benefits of a gentle massage for both you and baby.
One that’s very important: It is a magical trick to get the baby relaxed and sleepy.
The baby massage actually helps both you and your baby relax by stimulating the brain to produce serotonin, the feel good hormone. This means that your baby’s heart rate and breathing slows down, and baby becomes more relaxed – this is perfect to do before a nap or bedtime!
In saying that, massage encourages your baby to sleep longer and deeper thanks to this relaxation effect, and the reduction of cortisol, the stress hormone, in their body.
Massage can also improve colic and constipation. And quite often, that can be the reason for an unsettled, restless night!
A soothing belly rub can relieve pent up gas that is uncomfortable and irritating for them. Baby massage is also known to stimulate the circulatory and digestive systems, coordination and balance, increase flexibility and muscle development. And if there is no ache in the tummy, baby for sure will sleep better.
But there’s more! Massage is beneficial to your baby for many reasons.
From better sleep to strengthening the bond you have together, to improved relaxation and relief from colic.
This whole massage experience will also promote bonding between you and your baby. Touch is a powerful form of communication that helps both you and your baby develop secure attachment, trust, confidence, and closeness. Just think how incredible you feel after you get a massage!
Massage is also a great opportunity for quality time with your baby. This is a great time for fathers (or siblings, or other close family members) to have some quiet time of enjoyment and affection with your baby.
Now that I’ve gone over the benefits, let’s get into how you can get started! The best thing is that you don’t even have to be a masseuse – baby massage is as simple as it is enjoyable.
- Start by removing any jewelry, and roll up your sleeves.
- Grab a lotion or moisturizer of choice – a baby-safe, water-free lotion with emollient plant butters is best for both you and baby.
- Lay baby down on their back or or on a towel on the floor or bed.
- Keep baby in just a diaper.
- Warm a moisturizer in your hands, then place your hands gently on their body. You can rub the lotion all over using long gentle strokes, or you can start with your baby’s tummy and work your way to their arms and legs. Afterwards, you can turn them on their tummies for a gentle back rub.
Parents ideally give a daily massage to their baby for the first year, and many continue giving massages even while their child grows! So there you have it, the benefits of massaging your baby and a few tips to help you get started!