One of the most important benefits of babymassage is the added and continuing bond it creates between you and your baby. Even if your baby is premature, you can still perform the type of massage known as ‘still or containment holding'
Touch is a primal need, and the first important mode of communication between a mother and her new baby. Nurturing touch communicates love, the main ingredient for physical and emotional growth and well-being. The one-on-one interaction of infant massage promotes health on all levels – psychologically, emotionally, developmentally and physiologically. Massage improves circulation, strengthens immunity, enhances neurological development, and stimulates digestion, providing relief of gas and colic. Massage can also raise a child's sense of self and worth, which is tied to developing self-esteem.
When babies are upset, a soothing massage can lessen their tension and irritability and help them to feel more secure. In our culture, babies are born into a fast-paced, technologically advanced world with many unknown situations. This environment can create stress for a newborn. Massage is a great buffer against stress. When we give our babies massage, we teach them how to relax
A ten minute massage, two or three times a week helps make a more confident mother-infant relationship, babies love it and it can help alleviate baby ailments too. Lorraine Tolley of The Guild of Infant & Child Massage explains that not every baby knows how to relax: "Many babies are fussy, disorganised and have colic, cry a lot or sleep poorly. Massage can help with all these problems."
Cross cultural studies show that babies who are held, massaged, carried, rocked and breast fed, grow into adults that are less aggressive and violent, and are more compassionate and cooperative
Other Benefits of Baby Massage
- Stimulates your baby’s developing nervous system
- Helps relieve pain of colic, gas, illness and teething
- Increases Blood Circulation
- Enhances sensory awareness
- Stimulates growth-promoting hormones
- Provides baby with much-loved touch and connection
Some Tips On Baby Massage
The following is a description of baby massage for the face and head only:
Lay baby; face up on your lap or on a blanket. Start the massage on the baby's face and head. Always touch your baby very gently and softly - a caressing, flowing stroke with little or no pressure. Note that very young infants may be sensitive in this area. Their head may still be tender on top and over the ears from delivery. And their rooting reflex is so strong that stroking their cheeks may frustrate them.
1. Use a soft surface to lay the baby on. A waterproof pad under the massage surface is a good thing
2. Start at the hairline, both sides, top of head. Avoid the or soft spot on top of the head. Stroke around over the top and side down to his neck using small circles.
3. Next, outline baby's face with smooth relaxed fingers top, mid forehead to chin.
Front Body Massage:
1. Starting with the child on their back, gently stroke their face, starting in the middle of the forehead and working out to the temples. With your thumbs, make long smooth strokes across the forehead.
2. Stroke across the cheeks from nose to the ears and then from the cheeks down to the chin. Gently stroke across the eyebrows, and back around under the eye. Make gentle circles around the temples.
3. Stroke up the front of the body and out along the arms. Make clockwise circles with your fingers.
4. Apply oil in a downward motion from ribcage to diaper line.
5. Lift arms one at a time and stroke the length of the arm from shoulder to the hand
5. Massage the ears.
6. Stroke down the leg also using a light, feathering stroke.
Head : Massage oil onto baby's scalp as though you were applying a shampoo
Back Body Massage:
1. Turn the child on their front and gently stroke their back.
2. Use light strokes down the body, starting from the top of head right down to the feet.
3. Make a gentle wringing stroke up over the body
4. Smooth down the spine using alternating hands. Use gliding strokes down the legs.Bend the knee up and work on the foot.
5. Massage the heels, toes
Shoulders and Arms Massage
Form a ring with your fingers and thumb around your child's arm. Begin to caress around the armpit and then go down along the arm.
Gently rub the oil on one leg. Make circles with your thumb and fingers. Repeat for other leg.
Make several long strokes from ankle to hips.
Heels and Feet Massage
Begin by putting a soft pressure on each toe, then the foot and return to the toes again.