This post has come about after being asked for some baby reflexology tips to help sleep deprived parents calm their baby who is just refusing to go to sleep! I’m lucky to have been able to use baby reflexology techniques on my friends babies, to help manage a variety of issues, from sleep to teething to constipation – sometimes with quite dramatic results! I also teach these techniques to parents to use on their own baby, in one to one sessions or to couples, tailor making each session so that the techniques learnt are the most helpful for their individual baby’s needs.
When all your efforts at establishing a good sleep routine are failing, and you are wondering what else you can do, here are a few simple moves to help soothe your baby.
Babies can be very sensitive to reflexology, so gentle moves, for just a few minutes a day, are all that is needed. It’s important that you’re calm whilst treating, as your baby may pick up on any feelings of anxiety. I realise this is easier said than done when you are feeling frazzled and sleep deprived yourself, so sit yourself down comfortably, take a few deep breaths and take a moment to calm yourself first.
Before you begin, remember:
- Reflexology for babies uses massage strokes over areas of the feet and only requires a very gentle pressure
- This is supposed to be fun – so smile, or sing, as you massage your baby’s feet.
- Your baby may move their legs about in a playful manner; however, if your baby pulls their legs away and keeps them drawn up, they may be communicating that they don’t want reflexology at this time, so stop and try again later.
How to do reflexology on your baby: Soothing and Calming
1. Connect: Cradle their feet – support both of your baby’s feet at the heels in the palms of your hands. Hold them loosely for about 10 seconds while talking to them in a soothing voice. This simple hold feels very safe and grounding.
2. Calming / solar plexus: place both thumbs gently below the ball of the foot, in the centre, and let them press against you. Rest there for about 10 seconds. This is the solar plexus reflex – that place in the middle of your chest where you feel butterflies when you are anxious. Gently press this reflex as your baby breathes in, and release as they breathe out. By slowing this movement down, say pressing in for 2 or 3 breathes then releasing as they exhale, you can help slow their breathing down, which can be helpful if they are upset and shallow breathing.
3. Calming / diaphragm reflex: when stressed, we shallow breathe, rather than using the whole of our respiratory system effectively, causing constant high tension in the diaphragm muscle. The diaphragm reflex is located underneath the ball of the foot – you may see a gentle w shape. Gently press your thumb onto your baby’s foot, starting at one side, and ‘walk’ your way across this line, by gently pressing then lifting and moving along it to the opposite side of the foot.
4. Calming / neck reflex: Gentle downward strokes down the base of the big toe. This is the neck reflex, and can ease tension in this area.
5. Connect: repeat the cradling hold by holding your baby’s heels in the palms of your hands.
Getting the the most out of baby reflexology.
Try incorporating this routine into your baby’s sleep routine. The connecting hold can be a good way to establish a safe and secure feeling during feeding and cuddles, which can help reinforce this connection when using this hold as part of a baby reflex treatment to help calm and soothe. Likewise, linking the treatment with the same piece of music, or white noise, can help with this. Babies don’t like to feel they are missing out, and often won’t settle if they can hear you or the television in another room! White noise can help with this.
The beauty of baby reflexology is that it can be done anywhere at anytime, not just at home, and it is easy to perform a few moves if needed when out and about too. It is important to remember not to do too much. Less is more! Keep your touch for the solar plexus, diaphragm and neck moves really light and gentle. Don’t underestimate how sensitive your babies body can be when responding to reflexology. Baby reflex can be hugely effective and hugely rewarding. I’d love to hear how you get on!
Any questions? Please comment or get in touch!