From day one, babies want to feel secure, safe, warm, and comforted. After all, they were evicted from the only home they’ve ever known, the womb. Actually, babies crave touch after birth. Which is why most hospitals, midwives and birth intructors encourage skin to skin contact immediately after birth. Our littles learn very early on the association between mothers touch and feelings of love, comfort and safety.
I’ve been a masseuse for 14 years and I am honored to share my passion and knowledge about infant massage and its benefits. Plus, who doesn’t love grabbing handfuls of baby chub!? So, first…
Why Infant Massage?
- Promotion of bonding and attachment
- Verbal/non-verbal communication
- Development of trust
- Development of all of the sense
Infant Massage May Stimulate
- Circulatory and digestive systems
- Hormonal and immune systems
- Coordination and balance
- Learning and concentration
- Muscular development and growth
- Mind and body awareness
Parents May Find that Infant Massage Helps Relieve
- Gas and colic
- Constipation and elimination issues
- Growing pains and muscular tension
- Teething discomfort
The Massage Promotes Relaxation, Which May be Shown Through
- Improved sleep patterns
- Increased joint and muscle flexibility
- Regulation of behavioral states
- Being calm and a sort of self-soothing capability
- Reduction in stress hormones
How to use infant massage in your routine
Babies thrive on routine, if you haven’t already noticed. They start to get their own rythm to life with feeding, sleeping and wake time. It’s important to know when is the right time to massage your baby. If they are very tired, hungry or over-stimulated; it might not be the best time to try and massage. I like to do it right after a bath in the evening, before bed time. This lets them know that bed time is coming and, starts to help them find their night time sleep rythm. This is especially beneficial if your baby is having a hard time differentiating between day and night.
How to massage your infant
Start with your favorite lotion or baby oil, making sure your baby is not allergic to it. You may choose to use small amounts of essential oils, (I use lavender because, yum!). But, keep in mind that baby’s skin and sense of smell are very sensitive. I like to have a small space heater near by. Little babies can have a hard time regulating their body tempurature. Keep the space warm but not too hot.
- Start by warming up the lotion in your hands
- Apply lotion with palms to babies tummy, arms, legs and feet
- Work your hands in a clockwise motion around babies tummy, this helps promote digestion
- Using both hands grab around the ankle, twist and push down towards hips. Trade off hands, gently working the muscles. Use this same technique for arms.
- Using thumbs, gently massage babies feet in small circles.
- Turn baby over onto their tummy and apply lotion to the back. Work from tail bone up the spine and out towards the shoulders. Gently covering the whole back.
Above all, if baby gets fussy during the massage and you feel it is no longer beneficial; stop the massage and try again later or the next day. Baby will learn to relax right into the rythm and know that mom’s touch is loving and soothing for them. As baby grows, you can add more strokes. Be patient with it and enjoy the bonding that infant massage can bring. Now snuggle that yummy baby and breathe in that delicious lavender sweetness! Go try it!
So, what have you noticed in your baby when you are massaging?
Be sure to join us in our social media accounts and be up to date with the progress of our project!
And… Don’t forget to share your brelfies using our hashtag
Latest posts by Andrea Tao (see all)
- I Know Loss – Supporting Those Suffering From Child Loss - October 16, 2017
- Infant Massage: The Power of Touch - September 18, 2017