Baby Massage

Baby massage is a great way to help your little one relax while promoting a strong bond between the two of you. But that's not all. Recent studies show the innumerable benefits of baby massage. It's good for babies who are a bit developmentally delayed and boosts the growth outcomes of babies who are developing normally.

  • preemies sleep better, gain weight faster (by about 50%)
  • preemies are released sooner from hospital (usually by 6 days)
  • babies in NICU: breathe easier and need less breathing assistance
  • babies are more attentive and energized after massage
  • babies startle less easily
  • promotes secure attachment between parent and infant
  • improves digestion, respiration and circulation
  • reduces muscle tension
  • lessens gas and colic
  • reduces fussiness and irritability
  • improves function of baby's organs (brain, heart, lungs, etc.)
  • touch stimulates growth hormone

Remember that baby massage is great for fathers, as mothers usually bond primarily through breastfeeding.

It's All About Technique
Have you ever asked your partner for a massage and instead of a relaxing rub, your partner administered a hammering chop because that's what they thought massage was all about? Well, that's not the kind of massage we're talking about. We're not talking about the muscle it takes to knead dough, either.

It's important to be delicate with your baby. Think of 'massage' as gently moving the muscles beneath your baby's skin. This takes a very light pressure. To practice the right kind of pressure, close your eyes and apply pressure with your fingers without letting your eyeballs experience discomfort. That's the pressure you should be using on your baby!

The Setting
It's a good idea to pick a time when you and your baby are calm and relaxed. Is baby crying or calm? A good time for this is about half an hour after a feeding, when your baby is satiated and happy.

Make sure that the room temperature is comfortable, about 78 degrees Fahrenheit. The best place to massage is on the bed. Prop yourself up with pillows and spread your legs outward, placing the baby face down between your legs.

Massage Methods
There are a few techniques you can use for your baby massage. Put a few drops of baby oil on your palms and rub hands together to warm them and spread the oil.

  1. rubbing the back: place your hands down on the baby's back and massage (move the muscles beneath the skin) in gentle, circular motions
  2. milking the limbs: grab the top of the thigh of top of arm and place your hands around it. Make slow, firm strokes down toward the ankles or wrists
  3. rolling motions: place your hands perpendicular on one of your baby's limbs. Roll your hands back and forth as if making a snake out of dough.

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