The Power Of Baby Massage
Your new baby brings a whole world of new experiences, challenges and joys. Bonding with your baby is highly rewarding for both mothers and fathers. Taking the time to give your baby regular loving massages is a most effective way of developing and enhancing this bond.
The art of baby or infant massage can bring about tremendous benefits like improved sleeping habits, better digestion and even improved growth. For example, researchers have found is that by engaging in a gentle massage for just three times a day over a ten day period the babies that they observed experienced increased weight gain and babies were significantly more alert and active. With all of the benefits you may sincerely be wondering about what is involved in the art of baby massage.
The time of the day when you carry out the massage is of important and, for example, the 'witching hour' is best avoided. Often babies have several times a day when they are engaging in a quiet activity. This means that they are awake and alert, but they are calm. Normally, this time occurs after the baby has been participating in more active play. When you want to use this time you need to ensure that you have the time to do it without feeling rushed or have interruptions.
Once the time for baby massage has been determined that you will want to make sure that both you and the baby are comfortable. You can either use the floor or the bed to sit on. You will want to place a soft towel down, and then you will place the baby onto the towel on their back. The room itself needs to be warm, and you might even want to pop some gentle music into the CD player while you are going to be massaging.
Just like in regular massages you may want to use some massage oils for the baby massage. Be aware that when dealing with your baby's skin it is sensitive. This means that you are going to want to stick with natural oils like vegetable oil or almond oil. If you want to make it really luxurious you may even want to incorporate a scent to the oil like a soothing lavender. You will put a couple of drops into your hands before you start to massage, but be aware you should not use any oil on your child's head or face nor put a pure essential oil directly on any part of the body.
While you are doing the baby massage you will want to pay attention to the nonverbal signs that the baby gives you. As your baby cannot talk yet so it is essential that you watch for other signals. Babies are not interested in deep tissue massage so all strokes should be gentle and soothing. Newborns often only need a few minutes of baby massage whereas an older baby might enjoy a lengthier session. Be aware, that it is the quality of the baby massage that brings about the many benefits not the quantity of minutes spent on the massage.
When you start the massage you may want to start with the head. This ensures that your hands do not have any oil on them whilst they are massaging your baby's face and head. You will want to make gentle circular movements on their head. Then you want to gingerly place your hands at the center of the forehead and move them toward the edges. Additionally, you will want to carry the circles around your baby's jaw bone which can be really quite soothing for the child when they are teething.
Now that you are done with the baby's heads you can place a couple of drops of massage oil into your hand so that you can warm them. Then you are going to want to move to the baby's chest. Again, start in the middle and move outward. Move your way to the arms at this point. You will want to basically put your hands on each side of your baby's arm and gently roll the muscle in between the hands. As you move down the arm you can go towards the hand gently manipulating each finger.
After that you are going to want t move back to the baby's tummy for their baby massage. Here gently pull one hand after the other from right to left. Continue your downward direction and head towards the legs. You are going to use the same technique that you used on the baby's arms for each leg. Once you get to the foot take some time to rub each foot individually.
The next step in baby massage is to flip your baby over so that you can get to work on their back. Gently brush your fingers on the baby's back from one direction to the other horizontally. After you have done that you will want to adjust your stroking so that it goes vertically from the shoulders to the feet. Be sure that at all times you have at least one hand on your little one so that they are comfortable and sure that you are there. Last, but certainly not least you will want to end the baby massage by gently giving your little bundle of joy a kiss!
Baby massage is not hard to do particularly if you have set aside the time and can relax along with your baby. There are many courses and classes available and a web search should be able to locate a suitable teacher in your area if you feel that you would prefer formal instruction. It can be a wonderful opportunity for you to bond with your baby, and the benefits are just enormous. By taking that little bit of time you can ensure that your baby will be more active, sleep better, and even process their food better.
About the Author
Richard Lane is a qualified remedial, therapeutic and sports massage therapist providing mobile
. He also provides a directory for
remedial massage therapists