Having a consistent bedtime routine is crucial in raising a well-adjusted child. This bedtime routine not only helps your baby practice proper sleeping habits but also gives the whole family a nice way to bond at the end of the day.
If you already incorporated a bedtime ritual into your daily routine, or if you are still in the process of creating one for the arrival of your newborn baby, remember to consider including a baby massage in it.
Massaging your baby may seem like an inconsequential addition to your bedtime routine — meaning your rituals will stand with or without it — but you will find that it’s a very essential and beneficial step that you shouldn’t skip. Here are the 6 benefits of baby or infant massage.
1. It helps your baby sleep better.
Virtually every step in your bedtime routine — from bath time to story time — has a calming effect on your baby, which helps them sleep, and infant massage is no different. Massaging your baby calms their nervous system and raises their oxytocin level, or the hormone that makes them feel happy and relaxed, resulting in better and deeper sleep.
2. It may help improve your baby’s vocabulary.
Your baby’s brain, at this point, absorbs information rapidly, so make the most out of everything you do by telling them what you’re doing! Now, when massaging your baby, narrate and talk to your baby about the parts of their body. For example, when you’re massaging their arms, tell them that you are currently massaging their arms and hands. This way, they are able to gain awareness of their own body and learn how to call their body parts.
3. It has a positive effect on your baby’s digestion.
Infant massage has also been observed to relieve digestive issues in babies. These issues include colic, trapped gas, and even constipation. Using specific techniques and strokes that target the abdominal area, massaging your baby can stimulate digestion, promote bowel movement, and relieve the issues mentioned above.
4. It can help promote weight gain.
Another key benefit of baby massage, which is particularly helpful for premature babies, is the possibility of weight gain. As mentioned in number 3, baby massage can stimulate digestion and promote bowel movement, which are key factors towards growth and weight gain. Additional research also discovered that massaging with coconut oil helped babies gain weight!
5. It also stimulates your baby’s tactile sensory processing.
At birth, your baby will have a blurry sense of sight, but they will have an ultra-keen sense of touch. This is why it is very important to stimulate their tactile senses by gentle touching and feeling. A gentle massage will do wonders in stimulating your baby’s skin, a precursor in helping them understand concepts like cause-and-effect.
6. It strengthens the bond between you and your child.
Finally, massaging your baby is a wonderful way to bond. It also helps you, your partner, and other members of the family (as well as trusted caregivers) gain your baby’s trust. It has been observed to improve the general mood of the family. At the same time, because of its positive effects on your child, it also helps you gain more confidence in parenting.
Baby massage is a wonderful way to spend quality time with your baby, whether it’s one-or-one or as a family. It elevates the mood, calms your baby, and relieves pain and discomfort brought about by digestive issues. With these said, baby massage should be treated as a special time and an indispensable part of your bedtime routine.