As the day draws to a close and the stars begin to shine, it's time for your little baby to visit the land of nod. There's just one problem. They won't go to sleep.
As a parent, the battle for bedtime can repeat on a nightly basis. When you are together your baby is all smiles, yet the moment you put them down to sleep they're raring to go again.
Baby books far and wide discuss the importance of a baby bedtime routine, but what about massage?
By establishing a solid bedtime routine for your precious baby, night time can be a beautiful bonding experience rather than a nightly hassle.
Why Massage Your Baby?
Massaging babies has been used by parents in cultures around the world for centuries. Not only does it provide a loving, soothing touch which helps you and your baby to bond, it also has a number of health benefits.
By massaging your baby, you can help your baby to remove any tension, encouraging them to relax and have a better night's sleep.
Massage can also help to improve colic and constipation, all while increasing the production of serotonin. This added serotonin production reduces stress, helping to slow their breathing and heart rate down.
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 is especially the case for fathers.
While fathers might 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".
It's a simple and enjoyable task to do, and, accompanied with some beautifully natural baby oil, it can leave both you and your baby feeling happy and relaxed.
Establishing a Bedtime Routine
To ensure your baby has a blissful slumber (and that you do, too), it's vital that you nurture a solid bedtime routine. This might include:
- A quiet, cuddly feed
- A soothing bath with some natural baby bath products
- Reading a book or two
- A gentle massage
If you set up a nightly routine, you can help encourage your baby to settle faster and achieve a deeper, longer 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 in a circular motion on either side of their neck and head.
Colic Massage: Starting with a belly massage, bend their knees to their tummy and hold for 30 seconds before releasing and repeat. Then, use one hand to glide from your baby's belly button down in a rhythmic motion to help release any gas.
By using the age-old technique of massage, you can help your baby drift off to the land of nod gently and quickly.
If you'd like to start using baby massage or want to set up a nightly routine, why not explore our Baby Naturals range? With natural baby bath products and natural baby oils, you can give your baby a nightly treat.