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When your child is still a newborn, it can be hard to find bonding activities that make you feel connected with them. You can’t really get them to talk to you and it’s hard to judge how effective a particular activity is. Do not feel bad if it feels like your baby is not fully ‘connected’ with you yet. Give it some time and it will happen naturally.
If you are in search of the next stress-free way to go about it, you won’t have to go any further after this! Massage, among many others, is one of the best activities for building up that parent-baby connection. It helps your baby relax and at the same time stimulates their sense of touch. Of course, if you are interacting a lot with them, they would be more familiar and used to seeing you.
What are other benefits of infant massage?
Baby massage can bring hundreds of benefits to your little one. Some of them are:
- Familiarising and encouraging interactions between you and your baby
- Letting your baby relax and calm down
- Promoting a good night’s sleep
- Reducing crying and fussiness
…and so many others you’ll be pleasantly surprised by!
So, when should I massage my baby?
While massage is known to aid digestion, you might want to avoid massaging them when it’s right around their feeding time, whether before or after. Let everything take its time to settle and give it at least 45 minutes after your baby is fed before you put them for a massage.
Next, it is also crucial to watch your baby’s mood. If they seem uneasy or are about to be fussy, perhaps it is not the best time to practise the massage. On the other hand, if they seem calm, they may be up for a bonding session with Mummy!
You would also want to monitor their body language. If their arms and legs are relaxed, that could mean a good opportunity. Likewise, if their body is stiff and they keep turning their away from you when you try to interact, it is most likely not a good time.
To answer when and how often should you massage your baby, it really depends on whether you are planning to make it a daily routine. If you are, you can set a specific timing each day for the massage so your baby can anticipate it. At the beginning stage, you can try different timing throughout the day over the period of a few days to see which one your baby prefers the most.
You might notice at this point that the ‘right’ timing is one that is centred around your baby’s behaviours. Put simply, rather than just following the clock, you should try to arrange the massage routine revolving around their activities.
If you are not in any way planning to let your baby associate massage with sleep, try not to always massage them right before bedtime. And vice versa! If making it a part of your baby’s bedtime routine or sleep association is your mission, then go ahead. You’re definitely off to a good start. Keep in mind there might be effects later on when you can no longer perform massage as regularly as you do right now, such as your baby facing difficulty to fall asleep.
You May Also Read this : The Health Advantages Of A Postnatal Massage
Should I use oil?
Typically, all massages require the use of oil, but this is not compulsory. At the end of the day, it depends on what you and your baby are comfortable with. Babies have fragile skin, so many parents prefer to incorporate oil into their baby massage in order to not cause irritation due to the friction. Meanwhile, there are also parents who feel using oil can make the whole process messy, especially considering the fact that it’s performed on a baby.
Some others simply worry about the ingredients of the oil, in case they can potentially harm a baby’s sensitive skin. Fret not, baby oils are generally safe and suitable for their sensitive skins. Of course, you can test the compatibility through a test patch first. If your baby can tolerate oil well, it can be a very helpful element to your massage.
That said, oils are not the only tool that can help you. There are various baby items and toys that could help keep your baby calm during the ‘massage sessions’, thus making your job easier as well. It doesnt take a lot, really. You can look for a comfy mat and a soft comforter or teething toy. If you are getting baby items online, make sure to choose credible and trusted shopping platforms like MumChecked.
Is it okay to massage my baby if they have health issues?
Massage generally should not pose any health risks to anyone. Regardless, there is no harm in being careful, especially for a parent to a baby. If your baby has underlying health issues that make you worry, it is best to seek advice from a medical doctor. They will let you know whether massage is recommended for your little one or not.
Afterwards, it is also up to you to find the proper and appropriate techniques to massage your baby. As long as you follow what you are taught by the professionals, you should be on the right track. It might take a little practice before you find the exact massage techniques that you baby will love, but you will eventually get there!
All in all, just how you would ask yourself when to start postnatal massage, there is also a right or better time to start massaging your little bundle of joy. Our PNSG massage therapist brings their knowledge on newborn baby massage right to pass it down to you! After your own massage session, a baby massage will be demonstrated and if your baby is awake and up for it, you can perform the massage on your baby with the help of our therapist! Reach us at PNSG to learn more!