If you’ve ever enjoyed a massage then you’ll be aware that the right kind of touch can help us to relax both physically and mentally. Massage can be a great way to soothe babies before bedtime so that they’re able to fall asleep more easily.
Benefits of Baby Massage
One of the main benefits of a massage at bedtime is that it can help your baby to get to sleep. A gentle massage will put your baby into a more relaxed state. Baby massage has also been shown to raise the levels of melatonin, which is a hormone that helps us to sleep. Massaging your baby can calm them down at bedtime and help them to sleep more deeply, for longer.
Physical contact can also be very important for bonding and for a baby’s development. Some studies have shown that babies who are regularly massaged or touched in the right ways have better social, emotional, cognitive and physiological development. The importance of touch for babies is the reason why skin to skin contact is now recommended as soon as
Can Massage Help Your Baby to Sleep?
possible after birth.
Other benefits of baby massage include:
- Improves digestion
- Massaging with lotion is good for your baby’s skin
- Develops better muscle tone
- Improves body awareness
- Close contact makes babies cry less
- Helps you feel closer to your baby
However, all babies are individuals, so it’s important to consider what your baby prefers. If they don’t enjoy being massaged or it doesn’t help them to relax, you should try something else such as a warm bath, walking with them, or singing lullabies.
How to Massage Your Baby at Bedtime?
Giving your baby a massage might be easier than you think. You may already be using touch to soothe your baby, for example by cuddling or stroking when your baby cries. A massage is just an extension of this instinct.
- Create a dark, calming environment in the bedroom to help your baby to relax.
- Place your baby on a soft towel on the bed or floor. You can also massage while holding your baby, for example by placing him or her against your chest.
- Rub baby massage cream or lotion onto your hands to warm it up.
- Gently stroke your baby, watching his or her reaction.
- Try stroking along the arms and legs or making gentle circles on the tummy. If you’re cradling your baby then you can also try stroking him or her on the back.
- Long, slow movements are most relaxing and it is best to keep up a steady rhythm.
The aim of a bedtime massage is to help your baby to relax and feel sleepy, so try to keep everything calm, gentle and slow.