Massage is easily one of life’s simple pleasures. Did you know that your baby can greatly benefit from it too? In fact, like vitamins and minerals, skin to skin contact and the gentle massage action help nourish babies! It also presents a great way to communicate and bond with your child – all without saying a word.
Benefits of Baby Massages
Promotes Rhythmic Breathing. Infants often have irregular breathing patterns. Massages help them breathe more rhythmically. Stimulates Growth Hormones. Studies show that babies who are touched more often thrive more. Thriving does not necessarily mean physically growth, but developing their full potential – emotionally, intellectually and physically.
Enhances Brain Development. Newborns who receive extra touch were shown to have enhanced neurological development. Since human brain grows fastest in the first year of life, it is important to give your child extra touch.
Boosts Immunity. Another study on human infants showed that infants who were given massages by their mothers experienced fewer colds and diarrhea. On the other hand, deprivation of touch showed adverse effects on the immune system.
Tips on Massaging Your Baby
Before you perform a massage on your baby, make sure you remove all accessories. Given that the baby’s skin is soft and delicate, metal might hurt. You also need to make sure your nails are cut short.
Warm the massage oil with your hand before applying it on your baby’s skin.
Use smooth and gentle strokes but make sure the strokes are firm. Use your palm and fingers or maybe just your thumb.
Use circular movement on the chest and stomach area and upward movement for the arms and legs.
Never put any pressure on the spine and neck area.
To derive greater benefits, maintain eye contact with your baby and softly sing songs or lullaby.
Like most mothers, you will find this simple yet a highly beneficial ritual to be equally relaxing to you and your baby.