What is infant massage?
Infant massage is the stroking of your baby’s whole body in a loving and nurturing way, using natural oil. It can be done from birth and continued as your child grows. On an emotional level, the benefits of infant massage are astounding:
- It provides interaction and communication
- Lays the foundation for a warm and positive relationship
- Deepens the bond between parent and child
- Creates a sense of oneness and harmony
- Makes your baby feel comforted, loved and reassured
On a physical level, the benefits are numerous too:
- Brings about a sense of deep relaxation
- Lowers stress hormones stimulates all the systems of the body
- Encourages healthy growth
- Increases resistance against illnesses
- Aids digestion promotes sleep
- Improves circulation and muscle tone
- Encourages deep breathing
- Helps to relieve colic and fussiness
- Reduces complications and increases weight gain in premature babies
- Is beneficial for babies with special needs as well as for healthy babies, and can adapted for tiny babies and older children.
The benefits of infant massage can help nurture your baby’s psychological, physiological, and developmental growth.
Being a new parent can be tough with new sleeping arrangements, a demanding feeding schedule, and the constant hustle and bustle that an infant brings to the home. Yet being a new-born is no walk in the park either. Your baby has lost his familiar cozy quarters, the food is different and requires effort to obtain, and everything is, well … new. The result of this change in living arrangement can be stressful for both babies and parents. The good news is that infant massage is a great tool for managing this stress.
Research shows the benefits of infant massage, nurturing babies’ psychological, physiological, and developmental growth. Proponents of infant massage claim that it fosters healthy self-esteem and increases bonding between parents and their babies. You know how much you love your baby, but in all of the frantic newness and exhaustion it sometimes seems that there is little time to slow down and show your baby you love him. Massage can validate those feelings of love and affection for babies and for parents.
There may be other, more exciting developmental boons associated with infant massage. In a poll sponsored by Developing Minds, 86% of respondents indicated that they believed infant massage could stimulate childhood learning. That’s not too far off base, says Dr Tiffany Field, founder of the Touch Research Institute. According to Field, studies show that a five minute massage may enhance the performance of babies and children executing tasks that requires attentiveness.
Rubbing your baby’s back may or may not turn him into a young Einstein, but it will help him slow down, relax, and pay attention to the world around him. Not a bad deal for something that feels so good! What’s more, Mummy Massage can teach you how to perform infant massage!
Massage can be especially beneficial for high-needs infants and may provide some relief for babies who suffer from colic or unexplained crying bouts lasting three hours or longer.
Infant massage helps babies who are prone to gas, constipation, and other digestive difficulties by:
- Reducing spasms in the colon
- Expelling trapped gas
- Regulating and stimulating digestion
- Encouraging and increasing endorphin output to naturally reduce pain
- Decreasing stress-related hormones.
Of course, massage doesn’t cure colic. It doesn’t do away with colic entirely but it does lessen and soothe and is also great bonding time between mother and child.
- Your baby should be awake during the massage.
- You shouldn’t massage your baby if he has a fever or an unknown rash.
- Don’t massage your baby if you are angry or in a rush.
If you have any questions or feel uncertain about something, ask your baby’s paediatrician. And remember, not all babies take to massage and some find it over stimulating.