Why we don’t Massage a Sleeping Baby

Do you massage a sleeping baby?  Yes, I’ve seen the videos of babies being massaged whilst sleeping and they can look particularly endearing and relaxing to viewers, however, it’s not something I would recommend to parents attending our Baby Massage Classes.

Why you ask?

First and foremost, Infant Massage isn’t something done to a baby, it’s a practice with your baby. This means two-way communication. You can’t communicate with a person whilst they are sleeping without interfering with their sleep. Indeed, a key aspect of massaging your baby is to promote communication. Communication in essence also includes listening.

We ask permission from baby before massaging them, to communicate respect and feel it’s their right to say ‘no’ to any unwanted touch – baby’s need to be awake to reply.  If baby is sleeping or falls asleep during massage it’s a clear signal from baby that they want to do something else – sleep.  Consider yourself, do you like being disturbed when you’re sleeping?

Sleep is an essential physiological function, a healing and nurturing process for all humans. Infants need more sleep than adults for growth, restoration and to enable learning.

Children who regularly sleep well are shown to have improved concentration, creativity, more energy, be better at problem solving and maintaining good relations with others – just to name a few benefits. Not getting enough sleep can lead to physical, cognitive and emotional difficulties. For example, difficulty learning new information and being forgetful, increased stress, moodiness and irritability in the day and lack of sleep can decrease immune function leading to more sickness. As adults, we have lived and are likely to be able to relate to all of this, during periods when we have or haven’t had enough sleep.

Baby Massage can be a very relaxing practice for both you and baby. Massaging your baby decreases both your and your baby’s stress hormones and promotes the hormones for relaxation. Many parents share that their babies fall asleep after massage or have an extra long sleep after a massage.

Massaging your baby promotes secure attachment in infants which is shown to have life long benefits. This provides a sense of safety and security, helps to regulate emotions and offers a secure base from which they can explore. An important aspect of this especially in babies, is to observe and listen to your baby’s cues.

At Yogalime, we offer IAIM certified Baby Massage Courses in East London which are taught over 5 weeks. A key aspect of this is observing and respecting your baby’s cues and all our Baby Classes are baby led. These Courses are to teach parents the techniques. So not to worry if your baby is sleeping during class. You can practice the strokes on a teddy in class and when you’re home and your baby wants to be massaged, you will know what to do.

Both parents are invited to join our Baby Massage Course where your baby is massaged only by you. We have Infant Massage Courses running throughout the year, for course dates and to join check out the Class Schedule.

There is time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep. Homer

Love and warmth, Sky (Certified Infant Massage Instructor, CIMI)

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