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37 – Baby Massage and its Connection to Sleeping and Thinking

| Articles | April 30, 2008

The task of developing a regular and restful sleep pattern for a new baby is often an exercise in frustration and confusion for many parents. Research has shown that hospitalized infants grow more rapidly when correctly massaged. This is due in large part to the fact that massaged babies actually spent more time being quiet and calm, yet alert, and that when they did sleep, it was deep and very restful. This resulted in a more structured sleep pattern, as well as longer sleeping periods at night.

Doing a massage right after getting home from work will help a parent reconnect with baby after a hard day, and will help both baby and parent relax and unwind. Once you and the baby have developed a routine you will have a skill that will calm and quiet your upset child. There will be times when this is just what is needed; not food, not a fresh diaper, but soothing, relaxing touch that a parent can give their little one. Even when circumstances cause a change in their routine or environment, a daily massage can be the hub of your baby’s nighttime routine and the element that helps them prepare to fall into a deep, restful, restorative sleep. In addition, learning to relax in our busy world is a skill parents need to nurture for themselves as well as for their children. Studies indicate that the positive effects of practicing infant massage are just as profound on the parent’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being as they are for baby.

Infant massage has also been shown to positively benefit those infants with eating, gastrointestinal, bonding, attachment, weight gain, overall development challenges, which can also affect a baby’s overall sleeping patterns. Massage also helps infants learn about their body and stimulates brain function, and the interaction between parent and child during the massage can stimulate the child’s mental faculties as well, resulting in increased mental capacity.

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