Good news, massage loving parents! Massage makes bedtime and sleep better for kids...and parents!
Massage helps bedtime and improves Mom's sleep
A study published in January of this year (2018) in the Journal of Sleep Medicine reported that a consistent nightly massage-based bedtime routine improves:
number of night wakings in infants
maternal perception of infant sleep problem, sleep quality, bedtime ease and morning mood
the quality of maternal sleep and daytime mood (yes!!!!!!!)
In this study 123 families were divided into either an intervention group or control group (normal bedtime routine with no changes). The intervention group used their normal bedtime routine for one week to measure their baseline data and then were taught a massage routine that they used each night (massaging the baby's chest, arms and hands, stomach, back, and legs and feet), followed by quiet activities such as cuddling and lullabies with lights out within 30minutes of the massage. Massage-based bedtime routine: impact on sleep and mood in infants and mothers is available in full-text for some more detailed reading. :)
Our suggestions for Bedtime Massage
Not that we needed a study to demonstrate the impact of massage on family sleep! But sometimes, families need a little support. Our biggest advice: massage for babies and kids does not look like and does not need to look like YOUR massage. They are wiggly, moving around, distracted, talking, giggling. And still getting the benefits from the massage.
Use your intuition. You don't need any special skills or tricks to give a good back or foot rub with lavender-scented lotion.
Have trouble convincing your kid? Try massaging while reading a favorite book or singing along to songs to make it more interactive. Interactive is still massage.
Check out various resources on Youtube. We love story massages in which you act out a massage on the kid's back through massage strokes. Check out this Fairies in the Garden massage as an example.
Let the kids massage you. ;)
Need extra support? Schedule your own massage or an infant massage instruction session!