Sleep is a precious thing when you have a baby in the house.
Wouldn’t you agree, mama?
But what happens when your precious baby doesn’t want to sleep when the time for bed comes in the evening?
You’ve tried rocking them to sleep. You’ve tried offering them a before-bed feeding. You’ve tried playing lullaby music. Nothing seems to be working.
What else can you do besides letting them cry themselves to sleep?
How about giving your little one a nighttime baby massage to help relax and soothe them off into blissful sleep.
The Secret To Getting Baby Ready For Bed
There’s nothing better than a baby who sleeps through the night, but as you know, getting baby ready for bed begins long before bedtime comes.
I’ve been lucky, and always had babies who slept straight through the night early on. I credit that to the routine I established with my little ones when they were around 2 months old.
Even though we had a fairly consistent routine going, there were times when my boys would struggle getting to sleep at night. Over the years, I’ve tried many different approaches to helping my little ones wind down and be ready for bed. One of the most successful things that helped them fall asleep easily was for me to give them a nighttime baby massage.
Thankfully, the massage was a success 95% of the time, and my sweet baby fell asleep. I’m sure the routine had a lot to do with it, but nothing beat having that nighttime baby massage as a part of our routine. Not only was it good for them, but it was good for me as well.
Below I’m going to share 3 steps you can follow to give your little one a successful nighttime baby massage.
Perhaps you’ll be able to make it a consistent part of your bedtime routine too.
3 Steps To A Successful Nighttime Baby Massage
Giving your little one a nighttime baby massage is pretty straightforward.
In fact, you can do it in 3 simple steps:
- Get supplies ready.
- Start at the top and work your way down.
- Apply the finishing touches.
Let’s look at each of these briefly.
1. Get Your Supplies Ready
It’s always a good idea to get everything you’ll need for a massage ready before you ever get baby undressed.
Start by putting a blanket or towel under your baby and have your massage oil nearby.
It’s also a good idea to make sure it’s warm in the room. You don’t want your little nudist to get too cold!
2. Start At The Top And Work Your Way Down
Your nighttime baby massage shouldn’t be a long process. It’s best to use short, gentle strokes, work from baby’s head down to her feet, and try to be quick about it.
Here are the specifics on how I massaged all my babies:
- Begin by rubbing a little oil on your fingertips and gently rubbing it over babies forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin as if you’re drawing short, straight lines on her face. Work your way down to her neck next making sure to focus on the back of it especially if she’s learning to hold her head up.
- Next, move down to her shoulders and arms using a gentle but firm downward rub all the way to her fingertips. Make sure you have enough oil so that your hands slid across her skin.
- Now go back to her chest and work your way down to her belly using small circles. Roll her over onto her tummy if she’ll tolerate it and do the same thing to her back before rolling her back over. If she doesn’t like being on her belly, you can try helping her to sit up. Now is not the time for tummy training. The point of the massage is to relax her.
- Lastly, you’re going to start at the top of her legs and work your way down to her toes using the same downward rub you used on her arms. If you want, you can stop and focus on massaging her feet. Use small circles on the bottoms of her feet, working from her heel to her little toes.
3. Apply Finishing Touches
Once you’ve completed the massage, all that’s left is to get your baby dressed and finish up your bedtime routine.
For us, the rest of our routine consisted of some warm jammies, snuggle time mixed with a full feeding, and then off to bed they’d go. I’d swaddle them, put their nuky in, turn on their lullabies, and lay them in their crib to fall asleep for the night.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on how to give your baby a soothing nighttime massage. Feel free to pin the image below to Pinterest for a quick reminder.
This post was originally written on November 17th, 2011, and has been updated for accuracy.