How We Wrote This Article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.
Setup For Baby Massage
No matter what sort of massage youre aiming for, start your baby massage with the following setup.
1) Place Your Baby On A Towel
Sit on a bed or soft carpeted floor with a towel in front of you. You can also place a towel on a table to massage your little one while you stand. The towel helps absorb excess massage oil that you may be using.
If your baby is on the bed, table, or any other raised surface, keep a hand on them at all times! You dont want them to decide to roll over and take a tumble.
If you forget baby oil, your little ones pajamas, or any other item, take your baby with you to get what you need.
2) Check The Temperature
Since your baby will be in their birthday suit or just a diaper, you dont want them to get cold during the massage.
Maintain a comfortable room temperature. During winter, ensure that the room is warm, and during summer, make sure that there is ample circulation of cool and fresh air in the room.
3) Adjust The Lighting
Lighting in the room is also important. Use as much natural light as possible. And, if youre giving your baby a massage at bed time, lower the lights to help your little one wind down.
4) Massage With Or Without A Diaper
You can choose to massage your baby with or without their diaper on, but you can loosen it when massaging their tummy. Massaging without a diaper may increase the risk of accidental soiling, but it also ensures that you massage every part of your little ones body.
5) Bond With Your Baby
Why Do Babies Often Wake During The Night
Lets get one thing straight, if youre waking up throughout the night to tend to your baba, youre not alone!
Our little ones are not born with fully developed circadian rhythms, which is why they often appear to be partying in the early hours.
Over time babys sleeping pattern will gradually settle down, and theyll develop a more regular routine. In the meantime, your little one will regularly wake in the night for comfort or a feed.
Having said that, there are things you can do to create a more relaxing pre-sleep experience for baby that may lead to a longer snooze. Say hello to baby massage
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Conditions To Aid Your Babys Sleep
The environment your baby sleeps in will affect their ability to get to sleep and stay asleep through the night. When decorating the space, Howey recommends sticking to neutral colors and avoiding anything too stimulating. Keep the lighting soft so you have a calm space in which to get your baby ready for bed.
Temperature is an important factor when creating the ideal space for your baby to sleep in. Howey says to keep the room temperature between 60F and 68F throughout the year. Humidity levels should be kept at around 40% and maintained with one of the best humidifiers. However, humidifiers should not be used while the baby is in the room and should be avoided for babies with weakened immune systems . You can monitor the temperature and humidity levels in your babys room with a combined thermometer and hygrometer. The devices can be bought very cheaply and allow you to ensure the rooms conditions are optimal for your babys sleep.
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The room will need to be as dark as possible for your baby to sleep well, so consider blackout curtains, blinds, or shutters to keep light out. This is especially true during the summer months, when it may still be light outside whilst your baby is going to bed. Howey also suggests placing a white noise machine in your babys room to help them relax and get to sleep. White noise machines play a variety of sounds, from womb noises to ocean waves.
Infant Massage Ten Steps To A More Peaceful Baby
Giving your baby an infant massage can help baby relax and drift off to sleep.
Have you ever had a massage? The lights are low, soft music gently floats through the air, your thoughts drift as you sink onto a decadently covered surface where you delve into relaxation and begin to part with all of your daily tensions.
Wow That was GREAT! Why shouldnt we offer the same comfort to our babies? Massage has been around for thousands of years to aid in rest and relaxation. Today, we often think of massage as a modern-day stress-reliever, but if we go back to the roots of massage, we can find many benefits to sharing this age-old tradition with our baby.
Well help you figure out:
- what supplies youll need
- which massage oils are ok for babies
- how to commit time for massage
- how to gently perform infant massage
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Tips For Massaging Your Baby
Follow your babys cues. She has a large vocabulary in her body language and in the sounds she makes.Talk to your baby. Communicating through words, and the tone of your voice develops your babys listening skills. And, of course, smile!Stay encouraged. Even when your baby is not attuned to interact and massage at this particular time, try again later that day, or another day.Create the right atmosphere. You need a warm area and a calm surrounding. Have a baby-friendly oil at hand.Ask permission.Making small circles around the head or a suitable touch, warm up alittle oil in your palms. You can say something like, Hi Sweetie, areyou ready for a massage?
Benefits For Baby Both At Home And When In Hospital/clinic
- Reduces stress hormones
- Facilitates weight gain in neonates
- Regulates behavioural states and promotes sleep
- Enhances bonding and healthy attachment
- Creates a loving, intimate communication between baby and parent
- Strengthens and regulates primary organ systems
- Promotes social, emotional and cognitive development
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How Does Infant Massage Help My Baby Sleep
Studies have shown that infants who have skin-to-skin contact regularly cry and fuss less than infants who dont. Touch may lower your babys levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Touch also sparks a release of melatonin, which regulates sleep-wake cycles. So, massage may help your baby relax, stop crying, or fall asleep. Its also time you can bond and interact with baby in a loving way.
How Do You Massage Your Baby
With just a little bit of prep and some basic massage techniques, you are all set to start massaging your little one. Follow these five easy steps:
1. Pick your location. Find a warm, calming environment, like a quiet room or a shady spot outdoors on a nice day. The massage can take place on the floor or the ground, on a bed, or on the changing table. But be sure not to leave your baby unattended on a high surface, as he could roll and fall. Always keep a hand on him during the massage.
2. Get your baby ready. You might consider massaging your baby after a bath as being bathed may help calm him in advance. Gather your oil if you’re planning on using it. Once youâre ready to begin, place your baby on a blanket or towel. Remove his clothes except for his diaper, and softly tell him itâs time for a massage.
3. Pay attention to your touch. Start by massaging your little one with gentle strokes on each part of his body, including his head, neck, upper back, shoulders, hands, waist, thighs, and feet. As he gets older and more accustomed to the routine, you can gradually increase the pressure or firmness of your touch. Avoid tickling or irritating your baby but do whatever makes him happy. You could try some of the following massage variations:
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Things We Know To Be True About Baby And Toddler Massage
How To Massage Your Baby
We cannot teach you all the ins-and-outs of infant massage in a blog article. Infant massage is not a complicated process, but it does require that specific techniques be applied in specific ways to specific points on your infants body.
We can, however, give you an overview of how infant massage works. This video demonstrates the basics:
Interested in massaging your baby? Here are a few tips from one of our own sleep consultants, Elaine, whos trained in infant massage:
If youd like to learn how to perform infant massage, visit the Infant Massage USA website, to see if there is a class in your area. Or, check with your local hospital to see if they can recommend a trained infant massage specialist.
If you would like to read more about the origins of infant massage and to learn more about Vimala McClures infant massage techniques, check out her book, Infant Massage: A Handbook for Loving Parents.
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Momsense: Baby Massages Can Help Your Infant Digest And Sleep
The art of massage isnt just for injured athletes or stress-filled office workers. Babies can benefit too.
It seems like an oxymoron infant massage. How could these creatures swaddled, nurtured, shielded from the cruelties of the world in every way possibly be in need of massages?
Weadults use massage to melt away the stresses of the day meetingdeadlines, paying bills, juggling all facets of our busy lives. Or todeeply penetrate and relieve taxed muscles, from elite athletes toweekend warriors.
But babies? It may seem surprising, but aninfants developing nervous system can benefit greatly from a skilledmassage as he learns to cope with our big, cold and noisy world.
Asany new parent will tell you, an infants life is far from peaceful.There are the digestive pains. The inability to soothe oneself to sleep.Learning to breastfeed. Even teething pains eventually.
The general benefits of baby massage comprise four main areas:
- relief from pain and minor upsets
- interaction with parents and the environment, thus supporting bonding and attachment
- relaxation for deeper and longer sleep
- stimulation, especially for the nervous system, to grow and manage itself.
JillVyse has been working with families and their babies since 1991 at herOttawa studio . She has found two major reasons whyparents should give infant massage a try: to aid digestion and sleep.
Serious gas, constipation, colic and improved sleep are the reasons I hear again and again, says Jill.
How Infant Massage Helps Induce Sleep
We know how much a daily bedtime routine can help babies understand that nighttime is for sleep. Additionally, we follow a shortened form of this routine when it’s time for baby to take a nap. Elements like a darkened room and white noise are signals to your baby that playtime is over.
An infant massage can be performed at any time, but it’s especially helpful as a part of your baby’s sleep routine. According to the National Sleep Foundation, massage triggers serotonin production, which allows the body and mind to calm down. They also cite several studies to show how it improves human sleep…and that includes the tiny little humans in our lives.
Not sure how to give your baby a massage? We’ll give you the tips you need coming up and show how it fits perfectly into a bedtime routine. But in case we haven’t convinced you completely that infant massage is worth the little extra time, here are even more advantages it gives your little one:
There’s really no reason not to fit a massage into your baby’s daily bedtime routine!
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Prepping For The Massage
When it comes to baby massage, mastering the prep is just as important as learning the basic strokes.
You will want to massage your newborn at a time when they are alert but arent irritable or fussy. If your baby is hungry, crying, or fussy for any reason, massaging them will not actually calm them down. It may overstimulate them, causing them to be more distressed.
In addition, make sure that you yourself are calm. If you are feeling particularly stressed or frazzled, take a deep breath and try to calm yourself prior to the massage.
Once you are both feeling calm and alert, then you can take the next steps:
- Remove any jewelry and wash your hands
- Dim the lights and put on soft music
- Place your baby on a blanket on the floor, bed, or on their changing station.
- Verbally engage with your newborn and ask their permission. If they are smiling and making eye contact, the answer is Yes. If they are scrunching their face and arching back, you may want to find another time for massage.
- Have an edible oil on hand, such as coconut , sesame, or grapeseed oil.
Baby Massage To Help Sleep
Whether youre a new parent or you are on your third child, having a young baby is full-on. They are completely dependent on you and that inevitably leaves you feeling tired all the time. Therefore, it is so important to establish a good sleeping routine from early on so you can get the rest you need to. There will be regressions as baby grows but if you have a set of tools, such as baby massage, you can tap into to help settle baby for sleep, you are setting yourself up for success.
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Can Massage Help You Sleep
Massage may help improve sleep in two primary ways. The first is by alleviating stress. Stress is known to affect sleep . Massage reduces stress by and increasing serotonin and dopamine . Using massage to decrease stress and to promote relaxation may help you sleep better.
The other way that massage may help with sleep is by managing pain and tension caused by stress or injury. Pain and sleep loss can exacerbate one another , leading to a vicious cycle. A lack of sleep can worsen pain, while pain itself can make it difficult to find a comfortable enough position to fall asleep. Successful treatment of pain may improve sleep. Massage therapy has been shown to be helpful in managing various types of pain, including headaches , neck and back pain , arthritis, and pain after surgery.
If you deal with pain that affects your sleep, its important to work with a medical professional on whether massage may be helpful for you and whether other factors, such as your mattress and pillows, can be optimized to help you sleep better.
How To Give A Baby Massage
There are many baby massage techniques, each depending on your area of focus. When it comes to baby massage, practice makes perfect and you will soon get the hang of it and only you as the parent, or other close loved ones, should administer the massage .
Below, well offer a few general tips for giving a great baby massage, and then well talk about techniques for specific purposes.
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Have You Tried Infant Massage With Your Baby Has It Worked Well
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All Certified Infant Massage Instructors Should Be Able To:
- Clearly and accurately promote infant massage.
- Explain how nurturing touch can strengthen the bonding process and promote numerous health benefits.
- Demonstrate the full range of massage strokes on a special massage doll.
- Teach the infant massage techniques to both individuals and small groups.
- Create a relaxed environment that encourages informal discussion among parents on many baby/early childhood focused topics.
- Facilitate parent-infant communication, bonding and healthy development.
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Bonding Through Baby Massage
Baby massages are a great way to bring you and your little one closer. Trust and communication develop as you interact with your baby. Your calming touch will make your baby feel loved and cared for, too.
Your baby will also feel relaxed during a massage. Anecdotal reports suggest this relaxation may help improve their sleep, but more research is needed.
However, a Cochrane systematic review found little evidence for these reported benefits. More research is needed to support these claims.
If your baby has any health issues, you should speak with their doctor first to decide if you should massage your baby.
Many moms and dads love to do so by placing their baby on their chest, bare skin to bare skin. This is known as skin-to-skin care or kangaroo care. While youre holding your baby close, gradually start stroking their legs and back. Then move on to other areas such as the arms.
After the first few weeks of birth, you can begin massaging your baby. However, make sure to follow your babys mood. Your baby should be calm, alert, and content when youre ready to give them a massage. Never perform any massage technique that seems to make your baby uncomfortable.