Welcome to part eight of my baby massage blog series. In this final part I am sharing – How baby massage can help baby to sleep and calm.
Sleep issues have always come top of the list of subjects for discussion in my baby massage classes. There are no guarantees of course, babies can have problems with sleeping for a number of reasons, but the good news is that regular massage usually encourages longer and deeper sleep – music to any parents’ ears.
Regular massage reduces stress hormones such as cortisol and increases levels of relaxation hormones such as oxytocin. This regulation can help to reduce fretfulness in the evening, caused by the build-up of stress hormones throughout the day, and help your baby to settle more easily.
Spending time massaging your baby helps you to tune into their non-verbal communication and better understand their needs. When babies are listened to and their cues responded to, they tend to feel more secure, which can reduce emotional distress and crying and improve their ability to self-calm.
Beyond the initial first weeks massage can become a regular part of their bath-time or bedtime routine and encourage positive associations with preparations for sleep. Slow, gentle but firm strokes, particularly those moving down the body, can be deeply relaxing – while back, face, hand and foot massage can be especially soothing.
As you massage, speak in a calming tone or sing gently to your baby to add to the relaxing mood.
Although an aromatherapy or scented oil aimed at improving sleep sounds tempting there are many reasons why a fragrance free baby oil is a better option. You can find out more in my blog post Essential Oils for Baby?
Baby massage provides an enjoyable opportunity for you to spend quality one-to-one time with your baby and there are calming benefits for you too. Parents attending my baby massage courses often remark with surprise how relaxing it also is to be giving the massage.
To read the whole 8 Part Baby Massage How To Series and learn the benefits for bonding, development, tummy troubles and how to choose a suitable oil plus more start HERE.
See my Here to Help baby massage article in Mother and Baby Magazine.
To learn a full baby massage routine along with how to adapt the strokes as your baby grows visit IAIM to find a class near you.
Jayne Russell has over twenty years of experience as a pre and postnatal massage and nutritional therapist and is the founder of Nom Nom – award winning, certified organic pregnancy and baby skincare. Sign up for your free skincare guide “10 Steps to Super Healthy Baby Skin” at nomnomskincare.com