Whether you’re a total zen mama or a skeptic, I highly recommend learning a few techniques of infant massage. You can enjoy some quiet time and get to know your baby’s tiny developing body AND often get the kid to chill out and go to sleep. Win win.
I took a short workshop in baby massage with my mom’s group and picked up a few other pointers in a kick-ass mommy yoga class. Only one baby had to leave early for having a melt-down. The Baby Whisperer book has a ten-step plan to great infant massage (that I’ve used for reference).
Ease into it and stop if either of you are too bothered to continue. It can be fun for both of you even if you are making it up as you go. Then you can build up to a longer massage when you’re both ready.
Some quick tips and ideas:
- Keep the room warm and cozy – maybe throw some hand towels in the dryer beforehand (one for underneath and one to cover the baby while you’re working on other bits).
- Talk through what you’re doing (i.e., “I’m making swirly motions on your teeny tiny foot with my thumbs”).
- Use a little bit of olive oil on your hands.
- Let dad try it himself (without you supervising).
- Try it while traveling to help baby unwind and feel “at home”.
- Move on if baby seems annoyed. Try another body part or give it up entirely…
I’m convinced that massage is a great pre-bedtime ritual because even a short massage makes babies hungry, tired and quite happy. I used to give Holden massages whenever we traveled away from hom overnight. But whenever you do it, try to relax and enjoy the moment.