Baby massage can help your baby with relaxation, better sleep, colic like symptoms, digestion and wind. It's also a great bonding exercise between you and your baby. Baby massage is a gentle, stroking over your baby's body with the use of a moisturiser or oil to help keep your baby's skin silky smooth. It also releases the same hormone that is released while you breastfeed, oxytocin, creating that extra special bond with your baby.
You can start baby massage from 8 weeks onwards, remember your baby's eyesight isn't in focus, they can't speak or respond just yet. One of the most effective communications for your baby is touch and baby massage enhances this sense. Mum and Dad might find it quite relaxing too!
Benefits of Baby Massage
The great thing about baby massage is that anyone in the family can do it. You can have an older sibling massage your baby to help create a bond between them, grandparents can get involved or mum and dad can just have some extra time with your baby.
It's a great bonding exercise for Dads, if mym is breastfeeding they have that extra bonding time in which dad can feel left out. This is a great bonding activity for dad to get more involved in.
If your baby has trouble with constipation or wind, massaging in the direction of the intestine can help ease the pain and move the blockage along. This can also help with colic like symptoms.
Regular massaging as part of a bedtime routine can help your little one sleep better, encouraging them to sleep through the night.
One great benefit for mums is that is known to reduce post natal depression as it's an empowering task that mums will find themselves naturally chatting to and having regular contact with their baby.
For premature babies when you massage with oil it can help increase weight gain. When you massage your baby, you stimulate the vagnus nerve, which is linked to the stomach helping improve digestion and bowel movement.
Take Extra Care
There are a few precautions you need to be aware of when you do give your baby a massage:
- As mentioned earlier when you're massaging your baby's stomach always make sure it's in a clockwise direction.
- Don't massage your baby if they have a temperature or are feeling unwell.
- If your baby has just has a vaccination, avoid performing any massage for a couple of days.
- If your baby becomes irritated or falls asleep, stop massaging. Sometimes they might not be in the mood.
- If your baby has sensitive skin, make sure you stick to natural and organic lotions or oils to avoid any reactions.
- It is recommended that you don't stat baby massage until your baby is 8 weeks old.
When is best to massage your baby?
A popular time for a baby massage is part of the bedtime routine, just after a bath and before a bedtime feed. You should try to avoid massaging your baby just after a feed as they will be too full and may find a massage uncomfortable.
There are many other times of the day your baby can have a massage, before a feed when they are awake and aware of their environment is the perfect time for them to interact with you. Of course you will learn when your baby is most content to have their massage.
How to massage your baby?
With baby massage becoming such a popular activity, there are lots of classes appearing all over the country. Joining a class is a chance for you and your baby to get out of the house and meet other mums with babies at a similar time. Ask your healthcare visitor or local children's centre for a list of classes in your local area.
If you want to have a go at home, here are a few tips:
- Baby massage will be led by your baby, you will learn when they have had enough and which strokes they like/dislike
- Start with your baby's legs, using lotion or oil and work your way up. Gently rubbing and squeezing their ankles, calves and thighs.
- When massaging your baby's chest and stomach keep your hands flat and work in a clockwise direction.
Most of all make sure you and your baby enjoy the extra time together. To learn more about baby massage visit our website http://bit.ly/1sU5lGV