One great method for getting your baby ready for sleep is to give them a massage. In the past massage was primarily thought of as a luxury service for adults, but today we now know it can benefit not only adults, but also children, as well as infants.
Here are some techniques you can use to give your baby a nice, relaxing massage that will help them get to sleep.
Start With Baby’s Head and Face
First, you will want to make sure that your baby’s head is well supported. Begin by cradling the baby’s head in one hand and gently massaging the scalp as if they were being bathed. Be sure to rub their ears more gently than other areas. Give them a calming eyebrow rub by placing your fingers between their eyebrows and slowly rubbing outward. Very gently use your thumbs to stroke their eyelids, and end by doing small circles on their jawline.
Move To Baby’s Chest
To give your baby a chest massage, place your open hands out flat like you are making a bird shadow puppet, and place them over your baby’s sternum in the center. With your palms, slowly pull outward toward their shoulders. In a gentle cross pattern, start at the shoulder on the left side and cross down to the hip on the right. Switch to the right shoulder and cross to the left hip. Slowly alternate this method for 2 – 3 minutes.
Next Is Baby’s Belly
Place your hand on your baby’s belly so that your hand can fan out like you are holding a basketball. Be sure to get ready to keep a few of your fingers stable so they carry out some of the motions. Massage the baby’s abdomen in a circular motion. Use your fingers to walk around their belly button in a clockwise motion.
Massage Baby’s Arms
Hold your baby’s arm in one hand, and make a c-shape with your other hand. Use the c-shaped hand to stroke the entire arm starting at the shoulder and working all the way down to the wrist. Using a very, very gentle squeezing motion, wringing each arm as if you were wringing out a towel.
Take your baby’s leg and perform the c-shaped stroke on your baby’s leg from hip to foot. Begin using your entire hand to stroke the bottom of your baby’s feet. Massage each ankle using small circles. Stroke the top of each foot. Very gently wiggle each toe.
A Final Check
Baby should be nice and relaxed by now. Something my sister taught me – place your finger tip, or the flat side of your finger, at the top of baby’s forehead. Very, very lightly, run your finger down baby’s forehead and nose. If baby is sleepy, his or her eyes will close as you pass between the eyebrows and onto the nose. They may open back up as you reach the tip of the nose, but just the fact that they closed for a second shows that baby is relaxed and getting sleepy. Sweet dreams, baby.