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For a large part of newborns’ early childhood, they experience the world through senses – the most developed one being touch. Gentle touch not only soothes your little one but it is also their earliest form of communication.
And in these early stages, you may be seeking ways to bond more deeply with your little one, calm those unexpected bouts of fussiness, or maybe just establish a comforting bedtime routine. This is where infant massage comes in to benefit you and your baby.
The Benefits of Infant Massage
The myriad benefits of infant massage encompass a wide range of physical, emotional, and psychological improvements, creating a nurturing environment for both the baby and parent.
Enhanced Bonding and Attachment
Massaging your baby creates an intimate space for non-verbal communication. It encourages the release of oxytocin, often referred to as the ‘bonding hormone’. The process helps in fostering an emotional connection between you and your baby, which is vital in these early stages of their life.
Infant Health Benefits
Massages stimulate the baby’s nervous system, which plays a role in almost all bodily functions. Regular massages can help improve digestion, aiding the relief of common newborn issues like colic and constipation. They enhance circulation, ensuring that your baby’s body gets adequate nutrition. Regular stimulation can also promote your baby’s growth and development.
If you’ve been having trouble getting your baby to sleep, infant massage could be the answer. Massaging can help regulate your baby’s sleep-wake cycle. As a relaxing activity, it can pave the way for better and deeper sleep, a benefit any parent would appreciate!
The benefits aren’t just for the babies. Massages reduce stress hormones in both babies and adults. The act of massaging your baby can have a calming effect on you, allowing you to find a peaceful rhythm in your new routine. It’s a shared experience that enhances the overall well-being of both parties.
Preparations for Infant Massage
Before you begin, it’s essential to create a conducive environment for infant massage:
- Creating a Comfortable Environment: The atmosphere plays a crucial role in the massage experience. Choose a warm, quiet, and softly lit room. A firm yet comfortable surface for laying your baby down is a must. Some mothers prefer to have soft, soothing music playing in the background, but it’s entirely up to you and your baby’s preference.
- The Best Time for Massage: Select a time when your baby is awake but relaxed. Ideally, you should avoid massaging immediately after a meal or when your baby is hungry, to ensure they are comfortable and can enjoy the massage.
- Choosing the Right Products: Picking the right massage oil is also essential. Opt for natural, unscented oils, like coconut or almond oil, that are gentle on your baby’s sensitive skin. Always test the oil on a small patch of skin to ensure there’s no allergic reaction.
Tips and Techniques for Infant Massage
Before you start, please be sure to consult with your paediatrician or a professional therapist who is trained in newborn massage. When you and your baby are ready, here are some tips and techniques for infant massage:
- Safety Precautions: Avoid areas where the baby’s skin appears irritated or broken. Don’t apply pressure on the baby’s spine or joint areas.
- Basic Massage Techniques: Begin with gentle strokes. Starting from the forehead, move towards the toes. Massage the arms and legs using a soft grasping motion, mimicking ‘milking’ these little limbs. Remember, gentle circular motions work best for the chest and stomach.
- Oil or No Oil: While it’s not mandatory, using a natural, hypoallergenic oil could make the massage more pleasant for your baby. It helps your hands glide more easily over your baby’s skin, making the process smoother. However, remember to perform a patch test to check for any allergic reactions.
- Reading Your Baby’s Cues: Stay attuned to your baby’s response. If they seem relaxed and calm, continue. If they appear uncomfortable, fretful or start crying, it’s best to try again later.
- Pair with a Warm Bath: Pairing the massage session with a warm bath can further enhance its relaxing effects. Your baby might enjoy this, and it can become a beautiful bedtime routine.
- Special Care for Premature Babies: For premature or low birth weight babies, extra care is needed. Consult a paediatrician or a certified infant massage therapist. They can suggest modified techniques tailored to your baby’s needs.
How to Incorporate Infant Massage Into Your Routine
Infant massage is a flexible practice that can be smoothly integrated into your daily care routine. You could incorporate it during a diaper change or before bedtime to help your baby wind down. Importantly, infant massage is not exclusive to mothers. Fathers and other caregivers can also participate, fostering their bond with the baby.
Frequently Asked Questions about Baby Massage
When can I start massaging my baby?
Before you start, always consult with your paediatrician or a professional therapist who is trained in newborn massage. After you get your paediatrician’s green light, you can start once you and your baby are comfortable, usually after the first few weeks of birth.
What if my baby doesn’t seem to enjoy the massage?
Every baby is unique. Some might not enjoy massage immediately. Try again later or consult a certified infant massage therapist for further guidance.
Massage for new born baby is a great bonding activity that offers benefits to both babies and their caregivers. It strengthens the parent-child bond, promotes infant health, improves sleep, and provides a unique channel of communication. By incorporating this practice into your routine, you are setting the stage for a healthy and harmonious nurturing environment for your baby.
At PNSG, we understand the significance of newborn massage in nurturing healthy and happy babies. Our postnatal massage package comes with a complimentary baby massage tutorial. Guided by our certified massage therapists, mothers will learn how to massage their newborns step-by-step. Learn more about our Premium Postnatal Massage today and take a step towards holistic well-being for you and your baby.