If you’re a parent, you’ll be familiar with the difficulty that can arise when you’re trying to get your little one to go to sleep.
One way to encourage your baby to go to bed is through reflexology and gently massaging baby pressure points for sleep.
Reflexology and pressure points have been used for health purposes for millennia. The method focuses on targeting pressure points that correspond with other parts of the body.
By using this safe and gentle massage method, you can soothe your little one and encourage them to fall asleep faster with various "sleep buttons."
In this article, we’ll be discussing:
- Pressure points on your baby’s feet to help them sleep
- How to massage these pressure points
- Tips on how to do reflexology safely on your baby
- The effectiveness of baby reflexology
Let’s get into it!
The Pressure Points on Baby Feet for Sleep
1. Solar Plexus Point
Also called the “calm point” in baby massage, the solar plexus point can be found at the center of your baby’s foot. This is just below the ball of their foot.
Massage this point by gently pressing your thumb into it for a few seconds before releasing it. Repeat this motion twice on each foot.
Massaging the solar plexus point will target the bundle of nerves located behind the stomach. These can be the culprit of tightness, unease, and upset stomachs.
By massing this point with light pressure, you can help to relax your baby and get them ready for a good night’s sleep.
2. Pituitary Gland
The pituitary gland is a small but important gland located at the base of the brain, right behind the nose.
It produces hormones and is also connected to other organs and glands that it stimulates to help with stress, mood regulation, and sleep.
The pituitary gland point can be found on the big toe. To massage it, circle the pad of the big toe before pressing and releasing the toe three times on each foot.
3. Points for the Brain and the Head
To soothe and relax your little one’s head and brain, gentle stroking over the pressure points on the very tops of their toes will help immensely.
Simply make light circles over the tops of each of their toes, beginning at their big toes and moving outwards.
4. Points for the Spine
The spinal reflex point is connected to your baby’s central nervous system. To relieve tension from their nervous system and to help relax their spine, lightly massage their spinal reflex point.
The spinal reflex point can be found on the inner sides of each of your baby’s feet.
To target these pressure points, gently side your finger on these points. Then, go from your infant’s heel all the way to the top of their big toe. Repeat it a few times on each foot.
The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull.
As an adult, you may be familiar with tension around your TMJ from clenching your jaw due to stress. Babies experience tension around here due to crying, as well as when they start teething.
To help relieve this tension, the TMJ point can be found on either side of the joint on the big toe.
Using your thumb and forefinger, make a light pinching motion around this pressure point and make a circular motion around this joint.
Other Pressure Points to Help Your Baby Sleep
Sides of the Spine
Massaging the sides of your baby’s spine will also help to calm them down. To massage these points, use your thumbs to gently press on either side of your baby’s spine.
Start at the top of their spine and work your way down by gently pressing by their spine. Hold for a few seconds before moving down about an inch.
The Divot Just Above the Nose, Between the Eyes
Aptly known as the “sleep point”, this pressure point is excellent at calming babies and getting them to drift off.
All you have to do is make light, gentle strokes moving from between their eyebrows to the tips of their nose.
Repeat this motion a few times for about 30 seconds, and watch as your baby relaxes and gets ready to fall asleep.
Learn about more pressure points for babies here.
Is Reflexology Safe to Use on Babies?
Reflexology is a safe and effective technique to use on your babies. It can also help with the baby's sleep habits.
It’s non-invasive, easy, and your baby will relish the feeling of your loving touch. Just ensure that you’re being gentle and using soft hands to go through the massage.
Use your intuition to see how your baby is responding to their massage and how much pressure you’re applying. It should be soothing, and your baby should be engaged, calm, and relaxed.
If you have any doubts or concerns regarding reflexology and baby massage, we encourage you to talk to your pediatrician so that you can get expert advice for massaging your baby.
What Benefits are there to Massaging My Baby?
Aside from helping your little one fall asleep, massaging your baby also comes with many other benefits for both your baby and yourself.
Massaging your baby supports their mental and social development, supports weight gain and growth, helps their digestion, and reduces their stress. All in all, it makes them feel soothed and comfortable.
Massages are also an intimate and effective way to bond with your little one. Physical touch produces oxytocin and decreases cortisol and stress, leaving your baby feeling loved and safe.
This release of feel-good hormones isn’t just limited to your baby - it’ll boost your mood too! This is particularly good for the mental health of those experiencing postpartum depression.
If you’re a new parent or caregiver, giving your baby a massage can also help you gain confidence with holding and caring for them.
What Is the Best Time of the Day to Give My Baby a Massage?
A great time to massage your baby is right before their bedtime or naptime. Ideally, you want your baby to be alert, but quiet and not physically active.
As massaging your baby is also a bonding experience for both of you, find a time when you’re comfortable and free from any time pressures. Give your baby your full attention.
Before you start massaging, ask your baby for permission to begin. Let them know what you’re going to do by creating familiar cues like rubbing your hands near them.
You can see if your baby is happy for you to continue by looking for positive body language like eye contact, smiling, cooing, and reaching toward you.
When Should You Avoid Using Reflexology on Your Baby?
Avoid massaging your baby right after they’ve fed. Massaging right after your baby has eaten can affect their digestion. As this can cause vomiting, wait about 45 minutes before massaging them.
Watch your baby’s body language, and avoid massaging them if they’re pulling away, uncomfortable, or your massage is causing them to tense or be in pain.
If your baby is unwell or has any bruising, give them some time to recover before rubbing their pressure points.
Can I Use Any Tools When Giving My Baby a Massage?
You only need to use your hands to massage your baby, especially since baby massages require very little pressure.
There are a number of baby massage tools on the market, but they aren’t necessary for giving them an effective massage.
By using your hands, you’ll have greater control over how much pressure you’re applying. You’ll also be able to get a better feel for your baby’s body and its responses to the massage.
If you do want to use something, you can gently use a massage ball like the Kanjo Acupressure Ball.
You may also want to use baby massage oil to avoid friction to your massage, potentially hurting the baby.
Once again, this isn’t necessary, but it can be good for your baby if they have dry skin or eczema. If you’d like to use it, ensure that the oil you use is odorless to avoid irritating their skin and any strong odors.
How Efficient Is Reflexology on Babies?
Reflexology is an incredibly efficient method to use on your little one. Multiple studies have been conducted which suggest that reflexology can be effective on babies.
These studies demonstrate that it not only aids in helping your infant fall asleep, but it also helps to reduce pain and regulate their heart rate.
It can also help to relieve colic symptoms in babies through an increase in their oxygen saturation.
If you’re concerned about your baby’s sleep (or lack of), get in touch with your pediatrician. They will help you determine whether or not your baby’s health and sleep should be of concern.