Finding the time to sleep with a newborn is a real challenge. But, when there is a tummy ache, it gets a million times worse. The baby will wake up with just an hour of sleep, all cranky and moody. What if I told you baby reflexology for sleep could help?
That's right; a simple foot massage is more than enough to help your baby have a good nap. I know the struggle. When my daughter was born, she had trouble digesting the food. So, she would often get constipated, and her tummy ache wouldn't let her get a restful sleep. I tried everything I could think of, singing her songs, swaddling, and shushing. I even tried creating a bedtime routine.
But it didn't work.
It was overwhelming. Not just for me, but my baby as well. As a new and single mom, I had no clue what to do. I thought I would go insane. That's until my colleague suggested I try reflexology. I was skeptical, but I was willing to do anything at this point.
In just a couple of days, my life did a complete 360. With just a couple of foot massages, my daughter started pooping normally, the stomach ache subsided, and she started enjoying more restful sleep. It has been three years since then, and my daughter is healthy as a horse.
That's exactly why I decided to share my experience with you. I did the research and compiled all the info you will need on reflexology for babies. Here is what I learned from my journey.
What Is Reflexology?
Many people (like myself) have no idea what reflexology is. That's why it is important to start with the basics.
Reflexology is a massage that uses soft and gentle pressure to stimulate certain organs of the human body. Baby reflexology is focused on the hands and feet. This type of massage is an ancient Chinese practice that rests on the belief of "Qi" or vital "body energy."
In theory, each body relies on the healthy flow of Qi. When we are sick or stressed, our body blocks the Qi. As a result, people experience a massive imbalance in their system.
Unless that Qi is restored, the body will need a long time to recover. The exact same thing happens in babies. Since all their organs are reflected in their tiny arms and feet, we need to massage specific spots and restore a healthy flow of Qi.
How Will It Help My Baby?
Reflexology has multiple uses. It is a nurturing treatment with potent therapeutic benefits. The baby's muscles and ligaments are still underdeveloped, so they are more receptive to gentle reflexology than adults are.
By massaging their hands and feet, you can:
- Boost the immune system
- Soothe acute pain
- Stabilize heart rate
- Promote relaxing, calm, and soothing sensations
- Stimulate the release of the happy hormones
- Help the baby feel secure and comforted
According to a randomized control trial, reflexology can reduce acute pain in babies after vaccination. It can also boost oxygen saturation, lower heart rate, and shorten the crying periods.
Another study also supported the same results. Based on their statistics, reflexology was highly beneficial in children. It helped stabilize their heart rate, boost motor skills, and reduce pain. All these benefits can help babies get a good night's rest.
7 Key Acupressure Points for Baby Reflexology for Sleep
To massage baby feet for poop, you need to know exactly what you are doing. But, don't worry, baby reflexology for sleep is not as complicated as it looks. You just need to figure out the specific points for a massage. Take a look at the reflexology chart below.
The idea is to focus on specific reflex points on the feet and match them with the organs, body, and bones. Here is a list of the most popular spots to work with:
- Head and teeth - If a baby is teething, massage the tip of the toes to provide them with quick relief.
- Sinuses – When a baby is constantly sniffing, has a runny nose, or trouble breathing, it could be the sinuses. To release that mucus, try massaging the center of the toes. It's a popular spot for a baby massage during fever.
- Lungs – In case of chest congestion, it is a good idea to rub the balls of the feet. The spot just below the neck of the toes is directly connected to the lungs.
- Solar plexus – This is a complex network of nerves that are connected with the abdomen. Sometimes, massaging the area can help calm an upset tummy, tightness, spasms, and trouble breathing.
- Upper abdomen – This massaging baby's feet for constipation is the one I used. Since the bowels are linked to the upper abdomen, the gentle rub can help with the obstruction.
- Lower abdomen – This is another spot for constipation. The area is directly linked to the large intestine. With gentle rubs, you can alleviate constipation and discomfort. This is something many moms use for a baby who is super gassy.
- Pelvis – The baby heel is connected to the pelvic region. When there is a tummy ache or hip discomfort, massaging this area can help.
Of course, these techniques are not meant to replace medications. I mainly used the baby foot massage for wind as a natural home therapy that alleviates discomfort. If you are worried about using too much pressure or doing a bad massage, you should consult with a pediatrician.
How to Give My Baby Reflexology?
Reflexology for babies is completely different from the one used on adults. The crucial thing is you must not use any pressure. You only need to give the baby a gentle rub. Move your hands and fingers in circular motions and use super soft and gentle strokes.
When Should I Avoid Reflexology?
If the baby pulls the feet away from you or cries when you touch them, you should avoid giving them a massage. They could be sick or just not in the mood for it. Another thing to have in mind is to avoid a massage in newborns that regularly have their blood drawn from the heels. Their heels can become sensitive to touch and will need extra care and gentleness.
Babies love a good massage. But, if you know the right tricks and proper spots, you can help your little munchkin feel comfortable and relaxed. All the tactics I listed here can help. I really hope they work for you as they did for me! I would love to hear what you think! Let me know if you found this guide helpful in the comments below.
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