Massage can be a great tool to use as a part of your bedtime routine with your baby.
It will teach your child how to release daily stress from new experiences and it will help your baby to relax. The more relaxed your baby, the deeper and longer you will both sleep!
Here are some tips on getting started with massage:
- Pick either before or after bath time to do your massage (you may need to experiment with this to find a perfect time when baby is in a good mood)
- Keep baby warm and use a receiving blanket to cover areas that aren’t being massaged
- Before beginning, smile and talk to your baby in a calm voice to connect and check in on their mood
- Ask permission: “ Would you like to have a massage?”
- Warm your hands by rubbing them together and twinkle your fingers (this helps them recognize these cues as “massage time”), they will respond with body movement, facial expressions or noise
- Allow your baby to move into different positions during the massage if they choose
- Continue to make eye contact and check in with him. This helps to deepen the bond
- If you enjoy singing or telling stories, this is a great time to incorporate it into your massage.
At bedtime, you want to focus on using relaxing strokes. Relaxing strokes move in a direction away from the heart. These relaxing techniques will also work well if your baby is over stimulated from the events of their day and calm them into sleep. Some massage sessions may last five minutes, others 30 minutes, let them be the boss. Babies are really good at letting us know when they’ve had enough.
Massage is the best parenting tool you can have. It not only helps to ease discomforts of gas, constipation and teething, it will also teach positive physical boundaries to your children, teach relaxation and self care.
This is a Guest Post by Nicole Nifo, a Registered Massage Therapist. She has extensive training in Pregnancy Massage, pediatric massage, reiki and labour support. She runs a family focused practice out of her clinic in Oakville Fully Alive Wellness Centre. Her goal as a therapist is to ensure that top quality care is given to mom and baby and to educate families on the many benefits of loving touch.