Hi Vinni,

Baby massage has lots of benefits both for your baby and you and baby's dad. These include:

- Increasing the amount of skin-to-skin contact you have with your baby: this has been shown to help create a better attachment
- Increasing the levels of oxytocin (the 'feel good hormone') in baby and you - helping with bonding and reducing the chance of suffering from postnatal depression
- Baby massage can help to form a good night-time routine and aid better sleep for your baby
- It's a special bonding time that dad's can be involved in to
- The oil you use to massage with (you could use olive oil or coconut oil) helps to prevent your baby getting dry skin
- Lots of eye contact during the massage aids social and emotional development
- It can help to reduce wind

There is further information about baby massage available from Infant Massage Australia who state that:

'It is through our hands that we speak to the child.
That we communicate.
Touch is a child's first language.
Understanding comes long after feeling.'

A massage one or two times a day should be adequate to give the above benefits to baby and you. A good time to massage your baby is just after their bath. If your baby seems unhappy or falls asleep at any time during the massage you should stop. It is not something that all babies like and is not essential.

I would say that baby massage can give you and baby the above benefits and can be useful alongside a good bedtime routine, however, I would not say that 'insufficient massage leads to restlessness of a child during sleep'. Some parents do not use baby massage and their babies sleep well. There are so many factors that can affect the sleep of babies but I believe that modern society places far too much importance on a baby 'sleeping through' the night - but I will write more about this in your post on baby sleeping.

Most 5 year olds would not have infant massage although if the child particularly wants some massage to help them sleep then I don't see why not! Again, a good consistent bedtime routine is key in helping a 5 year old sleep, as well as plenty of exercise and stimulation during the day.

Best wishes,

LJ