11th Aug 2020

At the end of a long day, it’s time to put your baby to bed so they can drift off to the land of the nod. Unfortunately, when it comes to settling your little one, it isn’t always so easy.

Every bub is unique when it comes to their sleeping schedule and habits, which may also change over time as they grow and develop. So, what can be done to help support their sleeping pattern?

A recurring piece of advice across baby books and forums alike is the importance of a bedtime routine. Whether your little one responds well to being read a story before dozing off or enjoys a pre-slumber bath, incorporating regular activities into their schedule may help signal to them that it’s time to rest.

One such activity you may like to consider including into your baby’s tailored bedtime routine is massage.

Why Massage Your Baby?

Parents across the globe have massaged their little ones for centuries. Not only can a baby massage provide a loving touch and help you to bond with your little one, but it may also help them to relax and support them to drift off to sleep.

Building a Bond With Your Baby

One of the many wonderful things about massaging your baby is that it helps create a strong bond between parent and child.

This may especially important for fathers who can sometimes miss out on other bonding experiences like feeding. Involving dad in massaging the baby gives them an opportunity to connect.

“It’s easy to feel helpless with a newborn, but giving them a gentle rubdown can help you to feel more in control” – Elaine Fogel Schneider, PhD and author of Massaging Your baby: The Joy of Touch Time. “It will help you learn how to read your baby’s signals and respond better to their unique needs”.

Establishing a Bedtime Routine

To ensure your baby has a blissful slumber (and that you do, too), it’s important that you nurture a solid bedtime routine. This might include:

  • A quiet, cuddly feed
  • A warm bath
  • Reading a bedtime story
  • A massage

If you set up a nightly routine, you may help encourage your baby to settle faster and achieve a more restful night’s sleep.

When you massage your baby, there are a number of different techniques you can try. In the end, though, it’s all up to what works best for you and your bub.

Try out a few and see what works best:

  • Leg Massage: a firm but gentle hand wrapped around your baby’s leg, gliding down from thigh to ankle.
  • Belly Massage: Hands rubbing in a clockwise motion outwards from your baby’s navel.
  • Neck Massage: Supporting your baby’s head and upper body with one hand, rub your fingertips softly in a circular motion on either side of their neck and head.

If you’re unsure where to start you may like to take a local class. Not only can this help you to feel more confident in your baby massaging abilities but is also a fantastic place to meet other parents!

Of course, if you have any concerns about your little one’s sleeping habits, talk to your health professional.

What's Next?