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What's the Biggest tip to help your baby relax and sleep better?

You being relaxed!

Easier said than done I know, but here is how this works and you can make this happen.  Plus how I can help you...

Mum kissing her calm content smiling baby

The Ripple Effect of Relaxation: How Parental Calmness Enhances Baby's Well-being

One of the most sought-after treasures as a parent is a good night's sleep for both parent and baby. Becoming a parent is one of the biggest life changes and as you adjust to the many aspects of your new role and to navigate the rollercoaster of parenthood it can feel impossible.  Amidst the nappy changes, feeding, and endless cuddles, achieving this elusive goal can sometimes feel like chasing a mirage in the desert. However, what if I told you that the key to unlocking peaceful slumber for your little one lies not only in their crib but also in taking care of yourself?!

It's a notion deeply rooted in the understanding of parent-infant dynamics: the more relaxed and calm a parent is, the more likely it is that their baby will follow suit. This isn't just a sentimental belief; it's backed by science. Research has shown that babies are highly attuned to their caregivers' emotional states. They pick up on cues such as body language, tone of voice, and even subtle changes in facial expressions.

So, when a parent exudes tranquillity, it creates a nurturing environment that fosters a similar sense of calmness in their little one.

But how exactly does parental relaxation translate into better sleep for babies? Let's delve deeper into this fascinating connection.

The Power of Parental Presence

Imagine a scenario: a parent, frazzled and exhausted, tries to soothe their crying baby. Despite their best efforts, the tension in their body and the strain in their voice only seem to escalate the situation. Now, contrast that with a scenario where the parent approaches the same situation with a sense of calmness and serenity. In the latter case, the baby is more likely to pick up on the soothing vibes emanating from their caregiver, which can help regulate their own emotions and eventually lead to a smoother transition into sleep.

Baby Massage: A Gateway to Relaxation

One effective way for parents to cultivate a sense of calmness is through the practice of baby massage. Not only does this intimate bonding experience strengthen the parent-child relationship, but it also offers incredible benefits for both you and your baby.  Through gentle strokes and loving touch, baby massage stimulates the release of oxytocin, often referred to as the "love hormone," in both the parent and the baby. This hormone plays a crucial role in promoting feelings of relaxation and well-being, making it instrumental in the journey towards better sleep.

Moreover, the tactile stimulation provided by baby massage can help soothe a fussy baby and alleviate common discomforts such as colic and gas. As a result, babies who receive regular massages tend to be more settled and content, making bedtime routines less of a struggle for both parent and child. Even if the massage has been earlier in the day.

Katherine from Baby-Steps demonstrating baby massage

Just as in our exhausted and frazzled parent scenario, if you went for a massage and found the masseuse to be agitated and stressed it would massively affect the benefit of your experience and not in a good way!   When I trained to be a Baby Massage Instructor back in 2006 the importance of the person giving a massage doing some relaxation before giving the massage was hugely emphasised.  In our Baby Massage and Relaxation courses we do some lovely relaxation stretches and a meditation to enable parents to leave the stresses and strains of the day at the door and help them unwind.

While in reality at home it may not be quite as long, hopefully with some deep breaths and shoulder rolls it has wonderful benefits for you with the release of the ‘feel good’ hormones; dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin.  You need and deserve these! This in turn will help your baby to get the full benefits of these during the massage as well as you sharing a special bonding time.


Self-Care for Parents: A Non-Negotiable

Of course, it's essential to acknowledge that parenting, while immensely rewarding, can also be incredibly demanding. In the midst of caring for a newborn, parents often neglect their own well-being, putting their needs on the back burner. However, it's crucial to remember that self-care isn't selfish; it's a vital component of effective parenting.

By prioritising their own relaxation and self-care, parents can recharge their batteries and approach caregiving tasks with renewed energy and patience. Whether it's through meditation, deep breathing exercises, or simply taking a few moments to unwind with a warm cup of tea, finding moments of tranquility amidst the chaos of parenthood can work wonders.

Lantern shining a heart of light

Cultivating a Culture of Relaxation

So when it’s all too much and you need to reset.  Or your baby is crying and you can’t seem to calm them down.  Check in with your breath.  You may well be shallow breathing or holding your breath (as we often do!).  Take some deep breaths.  If you can, breathe in for 3, hold for 4 and breathe out for 5.  This can literally cause changes in your brain to reduce anxiety and stress.  As your breathing settles your baby will pick up on this.  

Mums and babies at the Baby-Steps studio baby massage class

I have so many stories of how this has been game changing.  One Mummy came to the first week of my Baby Massage and Relaxation course.  She was tearful and her baby was agitated and hard to settle.  As we eased into our relaxation together and she felt she was in a safe space and could see it didn’t matter if her baby cried, someone else’s might too, she started to relax a little.  But it was when she came back the next week and shared she had been doing deep breaths and her little boy had drifted off to sleep.  She seemed like a different person, calmer and more confident.  We always have our breath and it can be amazingly powerful.

So, the next time you find yourself embroiled in the whirlwind of parenthood, take a moment to pause, breathe, and embrace the power of relaxation. You'll not only be nurturing your own well-being in the moment and day but also laying the foundation for a lifetime of peaceful slumber and harmonious relationships with your little one. 

How can I help you?

I run a beautiful 5 week Baby Massage and Relaxation course in the calm cocoon of the Baby Steps Studio.  It is my favourite part of the week! 

mums and babies at the baby steps studio doing relaxation

Very excitingly I am launching a new online course ‘Your Baby Massage and Relaxation Toolkit for Calm Beginnings’. 

This gorgeous course contains some beautiful relaxation stretches for you, four different meditations to choose from, plus easy self-care ideas to weave into your day when you have little time as a new parent. 

These will help you unwind and relax and feel the benefits of all those amazing feel good hormones which will then be passed on to your baby as you share Baby Massage together.  It has a great ‘toolkit’ for you to refer to if your baby has tummy troubles, is teething, has a cold and more.  And you can enjoy it in your PJs, in your own time at home and go back to it time and time again.

Get in touch to get access to the Waitlist.

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