Infant Massage: How And Why You Need To It
Baby massage is the process where you use oil to massage a baby’s muscles. It is very relaxing and therapeutic for babies to have a gentle set of hands massaging their bodies. This is because out of all the five senses, touch is the most developed at birth.
The family is the first obvious choice for a massage though there are professionally trained people with an infant/baby massage certification. They can learn from the infant massage therapists and do it themselves as it is a great way to spend time with and nurture their baby.
BENEFITS OF INFANT MASSAGE:
There is research suggesting that babies have many benefits from body massage. Touch therapy helps children grow and develop as it triggers many psychological changes.
Birth creates an enormous change in the surroundings for the baby, and massage reduces the stress associated with it. The transition from the comfortable womb of their mother to the human world becomes easier for the babies with the help of body massage.
Massage for infants is essential as it helps the baby stay relaxed and happy. It reduces crying and helps the baby have a better and peaceful sleep. It is also known to improve the immune system and regulate the baby’s digestive and respiratory systems. It relieves discomfort from gas and colic, teething, and congestion. It is also known to reduce the chances of jaundice.
TYPES OF MASSAGES:
- Massage: Gently but firmly hold one of the baby’s legs and slide your hands from the thighs to the ankles. Repeat a few times and move on to the other leg.
- Arm Massage: Starting at the shoulder and moving down to the wrists, gently roll one of the baby’s arms in between your hands. Repeat a few times and then do the same thing to the other arm.
- Belly Massage: Place your hands near the baby’s navel and rub your fingers over the tummy in a circular motion (in the clockwise direction) gently. Repeat.
- Neck Massage: Support the infant’s head with one hand and place the thumb of the other on one side of the neck. Place the first two fingers of the same hand on the other side of the neck. Using your fingertips, gently rub the sides of the neck in a circular motion. Repeat it a few times.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME FOR A MASSAGE?
Don’t start massaging right after feeding the baby, as this may cause the baby to vomit – wait at least 45 minutes after feeding. Also, notice the baby’s mood. If the baby looks sleepy and calm, it might be a good time for a massage. But if the baby turns its head away from you and goes stiff in your arms, it might not be the best time. You can add massage as a bedtime routine or do it right after a shower.
BUT IS BABY MASSAGE SAFE?
No matter how beneficial massage is to babies, it is very important to take precautions because babies are very delicate. Avoid massaging the oil on the face and the top of the head. Keep the body massage short and sweet, and always stop when the baby shows signs of discomfort. Be careful while picking the baby up after a massage because the oil can be slippery.
There are no reports of massage being harmful to the baby’s body when correct instructions are followed during the massage. It is also safe when done by a therapist with a baby massage certification. Studies had shown that healthy, full-term babies who had a massage when they were younger slept more, cried less, and were less startled than those babies who went straight to nursery.