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You’ve heard of postnatal massages. You’ve probably heard of prenatal massages as well. What if we told you that there are baby massages as well? Yes, it is a thing. Understandably, you might not see many baby massage centres around. However, massaging your baby does actually benefit both the baby and yourself. Obviously massaging your baby will be a delicate task, so don’t try kneading your baby like a ball of dough! First, let’s delve into the how of massaging babies, and then into the why.
Starting from the tippy-top of your baby: the head. Start by cradling the head of the baby with both of your hands, and massage the scalp with your fingertips, as if you are shampooing your baby’s head. Keep in mind that your baby’s skull is still soft, so do avoid the fontanel (fancy word for the soft part of the skull).
Moving a little lower to the ears, gently massage using your thumb and index finger. Next, starting from in between the eyelids, gentle stroke out to the nose, cheeks, and finally around the jaw. Every step of massaging a baby’s head should be done as lightly as possible while still applying pressure, as babies are very sensitive around the head area. Circular motions are suitable for most of the head since that is the general shape of this part of the body.
Tummy, Chest, and Back
The front side of your baby’s torso is perhaps the most important body part of theirs to massage. Starting out, position your hand to enable it to mimic the motion of a paddle across your baby’s tummy from the base of the rib cage, and stroke downwards towards the abdomen. With a circular motion, massage the abdomen gently. Hold knees and feet together and gently press knees up toward her abdomen.
Rotate baby’s hips around a few times to the right, which can help expel gas. Place hand on tummy horizontally and rock your hand from side to side a few times. While you’re at it, do make sure that the baby’s cord has fully healed. Going back to the chest, place both hands on your baby’s chest and stroke outward from her breastbone to her shoulders. In a crisscross pattern, stroke diagonally on one side of your baby’s hip, up and over the opposite shoulder, and back down to her hip. Going to the other side, you find yourself at your baby’s back.
Finally, a part of the baby that is not as fragile as the rest. While keeping your baby’s hands by their side, use a hand to gently stroke down from the top of the back of the neck down to the butt. Also massage the shoulders and buttocks in circular motions, while avoiding the spine.
Arms & Legs
What better way to finish off the massage if not by massaging your baby’s limbs? Go for the arms first, and proceed to the legs afterwards. Hold your baby’s wrists with one hand, and stroke downward from shoulder to wrist. Emulate the motion of gently wringing a towel on your baby’s arms to help them relax. Carefully pull each of your baby’s fingers, as it will help them relax their joints.
Going all the way down to the legs, start by lifting one of the baby’s legs by the ankle. Relax the leg by lightly tapping on the upper part of the thigh. With your free hand, stroke from the thigh down to the foot, and pull on the toes gently. At the bottom of the foot, apply light pressure with your thumb from the heel to the toes. Repeat these steps on the other foot, and voila! You are done massaging your baby!
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So you have massaged your baby, but what are the benefits of baby massage? First of all, the more physical contact you have with your baby, the more you bond with them. Touch is one of the ways of forming deep bonds between parent and child as it provides babies with a sense of protection and love from a parent.
Other than that, obvious benefits include your baby being generally more relaxed, not getting upset as easily, and also crying less. Yeah, finally a way to make your baby cry less. Mommies, rejoice!
Now that your baby is all cosy and relaxed, you must be envious of your little angel! Do not forget to pamper yourself as well in this period. Why not try out a postnatal massage from the professionals like those at Postnatal Massage Singapore? Surely you will leave not only with a smile but also feeling pampered and refreshed!