I cannot give more importance to the bedtime routine before putting your baby to sleep. It is your one on one time with your child before you put them down to sleep, and that means it is the perfect moment to connect. The massage you give to your baby after the bath or before you put them in their PJs is a very important part of this routine and, done well, it has so many benefits not only for your little one but also for you!
I have asked my friends at Tiny Yogi Massage to tell you a bit more about this amazing practice.
Did you know that the skin is the largest organ of the human body and touch is the first sense to develop in utero?
Nurturing stimulation of the skin – handling, cuddling, rocking and massage – increases your baby’s cardiac function; massage stimulates the respiratory, circulatory, and gastrointestinal systems – which means that it can really help with colic and trapped wind!
Infants who experience more physical contact with parents demonstrate increased mental development in the first 6 months of life compared to children who receive limited physical interaction.
This improved cognitive development has been shown to last more than 8 years, so the power of positive touch through baby massage is truly amazing for baby’s development and can really help with so many obstacles you may come across when your baby is very young.
Benefits for baby, mummy and the rest of the family
Often when mummy has had a baby it is expected that she will know how to soothe her baby straight away – but this can take time, as mummy needs to learn what soothes her baby and the baby is still working out what they like/don’t like.
Our course is designed in a way that can help you identify what soothes your baby and there are also so many other benefits. We have listed a few below:
Your baby will feel securely attached to you
Your baby will feel more loved, valued and respected
Your baby will feel relief from wind, colic, constipation, teething, congestion
Your baby will have increased levels of relaxation and longer sleep
Your baby will experience reduced crying and emotional distress
Your baby’s development of body awareness and coordination will grow
Your baby’s growth/weight gain will increase (especially with premature babies)
For mummy and the rest of the family
Feeling closer to your baby
Gain a deeper understanding of your baby’s behaviour, crying and body language
Decreases postnatal depression
Provides early involvement for daddy
Increased confidence in your ability to care for and nurture your baby
When baby’s sleep pattern improves so does mummy’s/daddy’s/whole family’s!
Siblings can also be involved, reducing jealousy
The list goes on but ultimately the benefits lead to a healthier family and communication between you and your baby improves.
Baby massage as part of your bedtime routine
There are various studies (read one here and another one here) that talk about the positive effects of baby massage on sleep patterns, sleep quality and sleep length in babies. This in turn means that having baby massage as part of your bedtime routine makes sense and hopefully will lead to everyone sleeping better in your household!
That’s not to say that you can only do baby massage with your baby at bedtime, in fact it’s a great tool to use during wake windows to encourage tummy time (if massaging the baby’s back) and in order to prevent bouts of colic and gas, as well as just being a nice activity you can do with your baby that promotes bonding.
There is no set way to include baby massage as part of your bedtime routine but we would recommend the following:
Set up the room – dim the lights, make sure the room temperature is comfortable and it’s either quiet or you have some soothing music playing quietly in the background
Give your baby a massage – you could do a full body massage or just do a quick massage on the areas that you know your baby likes. The main indicator in regards to the length of time you massage your baby will be a combination of how much time you have (you don’t want to be rushing a massage when the point is to calm and soothe your baby before bedtime) and how much massage your baby wants
Read books to your baby
Swaddle and bed
This is just an example and all parts of it are totally interchangeable with what works for you or what your baby likes/dislikes – that’s the beauty of baby massage, it’s a tool that you can use whenever you need to!
About Tiny Yogi Massage
Our vision is to create a supportive, nurturing and caring environment for mummy’s and their babies to come and learn baby massage and yoga, with a special focus on Kids of Determination in our dedicated kids yoga classes.
The massage techniques we teach are based on the gold standard developed by the International Association of Infant Massage and draws from both the Indian and Swedish massage traditions, as well as incorporating principles from yoga and reflexology.
The classes are intended to help mummy’s feel supported at a point in their lives where they could be feeling very overwhelmed, lonely or simply just want to do a fun activity with their baby. Check out our website or Instagram for more information – we love babies and can’t wait to see you in our classes.
Belle & Ivana