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What is Baby Massage?
Baby massage and infant massage is becoming increasingly popular, even though ancient cultures have used this healing technique for centuries. Babies thrive on touch and need to feel reassurance after being in the mother’s womb for nine months. Massage and touch therapy is a wonderful bonding experience for the parent as well as baby. During massage therapy, you will learn to respond to your baby’s body language and promote your nurturing instinct. The benefits of massage are far-reaching and a must for every caregiver and their baby.
Benefits of Baby Massage
Massage offers enormous benefits for both parents and baby and these include:
- Assists with growth and development, both physically and cognitively
- Encourages the baby to sleep more soundly and also releases tension and anxiety
- Promotes early infant communication
- Helps to build trust, confidence and intimacy between both parents and baby
- Strengthens the bond between parent and baby and helps the baby to feel loved and safe
- Helps to reduce post-partum depression
- Relieves digestive problems such as colic and gas and promotes blood circulation
- Helps premature babies to gain weight much faster
Preparing for Baby Massage
You will need soft towels, change mat, quality massage oil, tissues, clothing and a bowl of warm water to warm the oil. Massage your baby in a warm, soothing environment with soft lighting. Play music softly in the background to comfort the baby.
When you massage your baby, make sure that you are relaxed and not tired – choose a time when you will not be disturbed! It is best to massage a baby before or after a bath, in the middle of the morning when he or she is awake, or 20 minutes after a feed. Do not massage your baby if he or she is hungry, irritable or crying. If the baby resists being massaged, do not persist.
Place the baby on a soft surface – this can be on a carpet, bed or changing table, as long as it well-cushioned. Always remember to remove jewelry to prevent scratches or Injury to the baby’s skin.
Help and How to Give a Baby Massage
Undress your baby but leave on a clean diaper, then place him or her on their back with a towel underneath them. Pour a bit of oil into your hands and rub them together so that they are soft and warm when you start massaging. Talk softly, hum or sing and keep eye contact during the massage. Ask your baby’s permission to massage him or her, as this will familiarize him or her to the cues of massage.
Using firm but gentle, slow strokes; massage the feet and legs first. Slowly move your hands up the lower legs to the thighs and then across to the hips. Afterwards, use your thumb to massage the soles from heel to toe. With both your hands, massage the chest using gentle downward strokes and then massage the stomach in a circular motion.
Massage the face by stroking outwardly from the nose to the ears, then across to the forehead. Always avoid the eye area. Finally, turn the baby on his or her stomach and slide your hands down their back with long, soothing strokes. When you have completed the massage, wrap your baby in a towel, and dress or bath him or her.
Research has shown that natural herbal and homeopathic remedies can greatly benefit an individual when used in massage therapy – to produce a positive effect on the physical, mental and emotional health of both babies and adults. It enhances the growth and development of muscles, encourages regular sleep routines, and relieves colic and gas in babies. Massage newborns with pure almond oil for a safe, rewarding uplifting experience for both you and baby!
More Information on Baby Massage
Tips for baby massage
There are a number of things that you can do to ensure that the massage experience is enjoyable for both you and your baby:
- Be adequately prepared before you start massaging your baby by having all the essential items such as towels, diapers, clothing and massage oil on hand
- Massage your baby in a warm, tranquil room with soft, soothing music playing in the background- choose a time to massage when will not have any disturbances
- Interact with your baby by talking or singing while you are massaging him or her
- Avoid massaging your baby if you are feeling tired or stressed – your baby will sense your mood and will not cooperate
- Make sure that you do not rub any oil on your baby’s hands and fingers as they tend to put them in their eyes and mouth
- Keep your finger nails short and take off any jewelry that may scratch your baby or be cold to the touch
- Ask your baby’s permission to signal that the massage is about to happen – this also indicates that he or she has a choice
- Never massage your baby against his or her will
- Maintain eye contact at all times when the baby is facing you