When you have a baby, we all want to make sure we can care for, connect and provide the love our babies need in order to trust us, their parent. Infant massage is a great way to spend time with your baby. It’s more than just good for them; it’s rewarding for you as well.
7 Benefits for Your Infant
- Helps them sleep better.
- Good for their immune, respiratory, nervous, digestive and circulatory systems.
- Eases teething pains.
- Relieves colic.
- Benefits their motor skills and cognitive development.
- Helps to reduce emotional stress and any physical pain.
- Normalizes muscle tone.
6 Benefits for You and Your Infant
- You get to spend time with your child.
- Learn about your child; what they like and don’t like, how to respond to them.
- Helps relieve stress and is relaxing.
- Gives you time to bond with your child.
- Encourages communication.
- Allows baby to trust you.
How to Perform Massage on Your Infant
- You need a calm, warm environment.
- Clean hands and remove any jewelry.
- Find a good place on the floor and place a blanket or towel in your lap. Put your feet together in front of you.
- Undress your baby while talking to him or her soothingly. Leave the diaper on.
- Place your baby on his or her back and start by lightly stroking the stomach.
- Massage different areas for about one minute.
- Massage scalp like you’re shampooing.
- You can the massage ears with your thumb and index finger.
- Stroke nose, cheeks and jaw.
- Use your thumb to gently massage eyebrows and eyelids.
- Stroke stomach in patterns.
- Make sure to extend and flex arms, legs, toes and fingers for a few minutes.
- When you have your baby on his or her stomach, move your hands back and forth on the back.
- Very lightly stroke down the spine.
- Massage shoulders and buttocks in circles.
- Talk to your baby, gently, during the massage – say his or her name, sing a song or say a phrase.
- Take a minute every now and then to gauge your baby’s reaction. If your baby gets fussy – stop. If your baby is smiling and happy, continue.
Tips for a Successful Massage
- The younger the baby, the softer you should massage.
- Do not massage for more than half an hour.
- Wait at least 45 minutes after you’ve fed your baby.
- If your baby is not calm and seems fussy, wait to give the massage until he or she is calmer. Make sure your baby is not tired, because the baby can become fussy and irritated.
- If you are not relaxed, it may cause your baby to become uncomfortable or result in an unhealthy massage for them.
- You can perform massage on your infant during the day or at night, daily, every other day, every week…whatever works best for you.
- You can use oil, but you don’t have to. If you do, make sure it is edible and unscented. Think about testing the oil first to make sure that your baby does not have a negative reaction to it.
Infant massage is an easy practice and allows you and your baby to bond and relax. It helps your baby grow healthy and happy. If you are nervous, find a class or watch techniques online so you can see firsthand how to go about the massage. Either way, relax and have a good time spending time with your baby.
If your baby has health issues, make sure to consult your doctor before you start massaging.