When it comes to helping your baby get a good night's sleep, a gentle massage can be a great way to relax and soothe them. Massaging your baby can help to increase their melatonin levels, which will help them to sleep better. But before you start massaging your baby, there are a few things you should consider. First, make sure that your baby is in the right mood for a massage.
If they seem happy and relaxed, then you can proceed. If they move their head away from you or stiffen their arms, then it may not be the best time for a massage. You should also talk to your baby's doctor before trying infant massage, especially if they have any underlying health problems. When you're ready to start the massage, use your soothing voice and begin with your baby's chest and tummy.
Gently rub the sides of their chest and stomach with circular motions. Be careful when massaging their face, as it is very sensitive. Start with their forehead and eyebrows, then use your thumbs to massage around the eye area. Move down the bridge of their nose, back and forth across their cheek, from their ears to their upper and lower lips, and then back again.
Make small circles around their jaw and behind their ears, rub their earlobes and under their chin. You can also use stretching, pumping and squeezing movements to move circulation and equalize tissues from head to toe. After massaging the scalp, run your fingers lightly over your baby's face to calm them down. If you want to add oil to the massage, make sure that your baby is happy and relaxed about it first.
Infant massage can help to increase the bond between the baby and their parents or caregivers. It can also help to improve sleep quality for both you and your baby. Vimala McClure learned this while working in an orphanage in India; she saw a 12-year-old girl routinely massage all the boys, which helped them thrive despite lacking proper nutrition. If you want to learn more about infant massage techniques, you can ask your baby's doctor for a recommendation for an infant massage specialist or other qualified expert who can teach you how to address your baby's specific needs.
With all that said and done, the amount of sleep that both you and your baby will get after a massage is definitely worth it.