Better baby sleep from the Chinese perspective is a very different approach than most Americans practice. Modern sleep advice for babies is an incredibly contentious subject as any trip to the bookstore will demonstrate. There are books on the many different behavioral modification methods from the cry it out approaches to the attachment parenting styles. And go to any online parenting discussion board and there will be heated discussions between parents who defend their choice of baby sleep method.
Regardless of parenting style and culture there are many benefits to families in implementing Chinese Medicine techniques in improving sleep because they alter the energy of sleep and focus on physiology rather than behavior.
What to do to help your baby sleep better:
1.Know that in Chinese medicine the source of good sleep is good digestion.
2.Know that teething pain can disrupt even the best sleepers.
3.Massage the point between the eyes.
A very relaxing acupressure point that can induce sleep in a reluctant sleeper is called Yintang. It is located between the eyes (the third eye point). Massage upwards with medium strokes until your baby drifts off to dreamland. It is good for adults too.
4.Have a daily acupressure massage be part of your baby’s wellness routine.
The entire body is crossed with energy channels that correspond to the internal organs. There are six channels that traverse the arms and six channels that traverse the legs. Regular massage along these energetic pathways will keep your baby’s immune system strong, improve digestion, and assist with good growth and development. For an easy massage that will benefit the whole body, begin with each finger and follow that line all the way up to the shoulder. Continue with each finger until you’ve done the entire hand on both sides of the body.Then do the same on the lower body by starting with each toe and massaging up each leg. Do both sides. Then finish with an abdominal massage and upward strokes on the back, going from the base of the spine up to the neck. Your baby will love the attention and their health will benefit as a result of your tender care.
5.Consider that energetic imbalances can impact sleep.
In Chinese medicine there are many different patterns of sleep disturbance, each with their own unique treatment. With babies it is usually an excess of Yang energy (fire) and a deficiency of Yin energy (water), but it could also be due to a weak Spleen (earth) and an excess Liver (wood) or other elemental imbalance. Balancing these energies with acupressure can be done easily and effectively with the use of a good acupressure reference guide or the recommendation of a pediatric acupuncturist.