Infant massage can play an important role in bonding, in relaxing your child and even soothing the symptoms of constipation, colic and gas.
There's overwelming evidence that giving your infant lots of physical warmth, loving touches and bonding does wonders a baby's development: helping them feel secure and comfortable. Other benefits of infant massage include
- strengthening muscle tone
- lowering the levels of cortisol, known as the 'stress hormone'
- improve sleep
- improve motor development
THE BEST TIME FOR GIVING YOUR INFANT A MASSAGE
Just after bathtime or before bedtime is a great time for a massage. Your infant will feel relaxed and ready to fall asleep. It's not a good time when they have just woken up or had a feed or just before a feed when they are feeling hungry.
INFANT MASSAGE TECHNIQUES
Choose a comfortable warm room and stretch your baby out either on the duvet or blanket. Make sure you are relaxed and breathing softly and quietly. If you baby is very young, you could seat down, put a large pillow on your lap and have them rest on that pillow. A baby can sense tension and may feel tense themselves.
Make sure your hands are clean and warm, and take off any bracelets, rings or watches which may cause scratching.
You can use natural oil such as canola oil or just your hands. Don't pick something with heavy scent or a nut-based in case of allergies.
Start with the feet and move up the body. Don't be too light, otherwise your infant will feel too ticklish. On the other hand, don't be overly firm as infants are still sensitive delicate. Look at their face for signs of comfort or tension and adjust your touch accordingly. As you keep practising you will get better and better. If they seem to dislike you touching a particular part of their body, that's ok, leave it, we all have our sensitive areas.
For the face you can lightly stroke their cheeks and give their lips a gentle stroke too - they will probably give you a little smile.
Massage for about 10 to 15 minutes.
INFANT MASSAGE TIPS
You might want to make massage time, daddy's time so they can have their own special bonding ritual.
Use it as a chance for you, the parent to relax as well
INFANT MASSAGE CERTIFICATION
You can now become a certified in infant massage. Courses usually take 2 to 3 days and cover infant massage techniques, methodology, history and theory of infant massage and how to massage children from newborns to toddlers and beyond. Several companies offer certification and also a chance to become an instructor. Who knows, your evening special time with your infant might become a new job for you!