Baby massage.

   I wanted to write on baby massage today because since my son was little I have given him a massage every night after bath time and before bedtime. I first heard about it right before my son was born. I did so much research on it my head spun! I thought it was the coolest! My son loves it and it really relaxes him for bed. Even on his most cranky nights. I lay him down {sometimes he rolls around while I’m doing it} but once we are about half way through it he is staying still for me. Remember, if baby doesn’t want to stay still just be patient and roll with it. Let him roll around while you are doing your thing. It is never too late to begin massage… 

Whether your baby is a newborn or several years old, massage can bring immediate and lasting results. Infant Massage is a very old parenting practice that has been modernized and is in active use today supported by evidence-based research. There is recorded history of the use and practice of infant massage amongst many different cultures around the globe. It is only in the past 30 years that infant massage has begun to appear in the western world.

 Infant Massage / Baby Massage
Have you ever wondered what infant massage is?
Have you overheard a friend talking about infant massage?

 

What is Infant Massage? The Language of Touch
Infant massage is a bonding activity between parents and their children. In the most basic terms, infant or pediatric massage refers to the process of stroking the muscles of an infant using a variety of specialized massage techniques. Vocalization, eye-to-eye contact, and other positive behavioral reinforcements are also important components of the massage.

 

Ancient Art of Infant Massage
Mothers have been practicing the art of infant massage for centuries. Based on this historical fact, it is very clear that all babies should be massaged, touched and loved to promote their social-emotional-cognitive and physical development. As an early intervention strategy and therapeutic tool, infant massage is becoming a specialty therapy in the United States. Infant massage is being embraced by a wide variety of professionals who are incorporating it into their practices to help families cope with children with special needs as well as healthy full term newborns. Techniques are simple and effective and are most likely performed by parents and primary caregivers who have been taught by certified infant massage instructors. The approach is empowering and improves the parent-infant attachment process. There is a growing body of research that supports the therapeutic benefits. Infant massage is a crucial and routine part of infant care around the world and has the ability to create great benefits for both parents and the newborn.

 

“Being touched and caressed, being massaged, is food for the infant; food as necessary as minerals, vitamins, and proteins” ~ Frederick Leboyer

 
Having a baby is an amazing experience for both of the parents. One of the most important aspects in the first few months is bonding. Of course holding, bathing and feeding the baby is a great and traditional way of bonding, but one of the best ways is to use baby massage techniques. Not many people know these techniques, so they are shown in more detail below. The basic thing to remember when doing them is to be gentle, patient, and most of all, have fun. Massaging a baby has shown to help the baby relax more, and this means that they will sleep better, and suffer less bouts of colic.

The items required for these baby massage techniques are a padded mattress to place the baby on, a towel to place over it, and some massaging oil suitable for a baby. Before applying any oil though, place a tiny spot on the back of the baby’s hand, and then wait for 10 minutes. If there is no reaction, then it is safe to use. Do not massage straight after feeding, give it at least an hour. Massaging can be done with or without a nappy present. Always start at the feet, as this is a sensitive area, and the baby will respond positively.

Legs and Feet
With the baby on its back, gently rub the feet with using the thumbs, and work in-between the toes. Gently squeeze each toe, then move to the top of the foot and apply gentle pressure while stroking it. Then slowly move up the legs using circular motions on the muscle areas. The baby should respond with smiles and giggles, especially when the feet are being massaged.

Tummy, Back and Chest
Using a flat hand, gently press down on the stomach area, and use a circular motion to massage the front and side areas of the chest and tummy. Once that is complete, gently turn the baby over to lie face-down, and use an up and down motion with your fingers to massage in the same direction as the spine.

Arms
The hands need to be done in a similar way to the feet, as the palm area is also sensitive. Then, holding the baby’s wrist with one hand, gently run your hand up and down the full length of the arm.

Head and Face
The head is massaged with the same technique used when shampooing. Rubbing behind the ears can prove to be very relaxing to a baby. The baby massage techniques for the face need to be done carefully. Gently rub along the line of the eyebrows, and between them including the bridge of the nose. Use small circular motions along the jaw lines, and cheeks.

If it can be avoided, try not to tickle the baby, but whether this is possible or not depends on how sensitive the baby is. Use these techniques on a daily basis, and you will not only have a more relaxed baby, but one that is strongly bonded as well.
 
I really hope this works for you and your little one as much as it does for my son and I! He really loves it and so do I. I love having that extra time with him. Let us know how it works for you. Leave a comment letting me know.

 

 

 

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