Like many mothers, you’re likely to have done your fair share of talking about sleep and bedtime routines. Establishing a behavioral pattern when settling your child is the key to instilling good sleep habits in your baby. A calming bedtime routine that follows a predictable pattern every night helps give your baby the cue that it’s time to put their little heads down to rest. This, in turn, helps them settle more easily. What’s more, it is a wonderful way to bond with your baby at the end of a long day. After all, time spent snuggling, singing lullabies, and quietly reading is the closest, calmest time you’ll get to spend with your infant.
Massage can be very beneficial for helping babies sleep deeper and for longer periods of time. This means you as a mother being able to sleep longer as well – hopefully, all night! Not only does massage help your baby to release stress which builds daily from the stimulus that creates new experiences, it allows your baby to relax and enjoy this special quiet time.
Mothers have long benefited from remaining physically close to their child since time immemorial, carrying babies on their back as they went about their day. Benefits abound when it comes to regularly making contact with your child and recent studies have shown that massage has a positive effect on an infant’s ability to relax and sleep through the night.
Tiffany Field and Maria Hernandez-Reif’s (2007) research into massage’s ability to decrease the appearance of sleep problems in children has shed light on how beneficial carrying out a massage before bedtime can be. The study stated that children in the massage therapy group showed “fewer bedtime disruptive behaviors” and a “shorter latency to sleep”. Infants that are settled this way enjoy a deeper, more peaceful night’s rest, which in turn can mean that you do.
The effects of massage can be further enhanced by the infusion of oils into the child’s bedtime routine, especially by using lavender oil before bed. In a study by Tiffany Field et al (2008), it was shown that lavender oil reduced the cortisol (stress) levels of both mother and child, decreased the levels of crying and enhanced sleep.
Try implementing a bedtime routine that integrates massage and lavender aroma for a peaceful night’s sleep for both you and your little one. Why not try out our gentle baby massage routine before your little one goes to bed?
Tiffany Field and Maria Hernandez-Reif (2007), ‘Sleep Problems in Infants Decrease Following Massage Therapy’, Early Child Development and Care, 168:1, 95 – 104
Field, T., Cullen, C., Largie, S., Diego, M., Schanberg, S. & Kuhn, C. (2008). Lavender bath oil reduces stress and crying and enhances sleep in very young infants. Early Human Development, 84, 399-401.