Baby massage has fantastic health benefits for you and your baby – and it’s great fun too!
Massage is an excellent channel through which to communicate love, comfort and support to your baby. It helps you understand your baby’s subtle, non-verbal language, and develop your ability to listen and understand your baby’s cues.
Through massage, you lay down foundations of trust and security – helping to develop a happy and confident relationship with your baby for the future.
- Create lasting bonds between you and your baby
- Relaxation for both baby and parent
- Stimulate and support baby’s physical, emotional and social development
- Relief from wind, colic, constipation, teething and other ailments
- Meet other parents with small babies in the local area
- Develop a unique skill that you can use with your baby through to early childhood
Bonding and Communication are enhanced with massage
- The child is engaged by his parents touch, eye contact, speech, body movement and facial expression
- The child responds with similar signals which stimulate further response from their parent. Over time, this reciprocal interaction deepens and strengthens bonding
- Massage stimulates circulation and increases the flow of oxygen around the body
- Massage stimulates digestion and elimination of waste and helping with colic or constipation. It may also help premature babies absorb food and gain weight more easily
- Massage stimulates the flow of lymph and elimination of toxins which will aid the immune system and help resistance to infections
- Massage encourages muscle co-ordination
- Massage stimulates the central nervous system which is important for both neurological and motor development.
- Massage can aid recovery from childhood ailments such as asthma, catarrh, sleep problems and eczema
Massage for colicky and fractious babies
Approximately 25 percent of babies experience colic, a condition that causes babies to cry inconsolably for at least three hours a day at least three days a week mostly from early evening through the night. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of crying for a diagnosis; some babies cry for hours on end with no apparent reason. Babies with colic may arch their back and tighten their stomach and pull their legs up, they seem in a lot of pain and this can be stressful for the whole family to deal with. Baby massage can help ease colic and soothe your baby; it can also really help parents to feel positive that they are doing something to help ease their baby’s pain and discomfort. Skin to skin touch promotes and strengthens the bond between baby and parent. Through massaging your baby and learning different holds you can help to ease the discomfort and disperse the trapped wind and ease any constipation they may have.We see many babies with colic or just fractious unsettled babies and we have found that baby massage has had a very positive outcome for both baby and parent.
Massage for babies and children with special needs
Massage for premature babies
The World Health Organisation defines a premature baby that is born before 37 weeks from the first day of the mothers last menstrual period. With current medical technology babies can now be delivered and survive as young as 24 weeks.
At the Touch Research Institute, they studied the effects of massage and have published various articles outlining the benefits of positive touch through massage on premature babies.
They found that babies development and sensory awareness was enhanced through massage and that they gained more weight than a comparative group. Positive touch releases feel good hormones in the body which helps counteract stress and anxiety and promotes motor and cognitive development.
It is always important that before massaging your baby you make sure your baby is well enough for massage, no skin rashes, fever or sickness and is happy to receive a massage. If you are unsure ask your babies doctor for advice.
There are various times when it would not be appropriate to massage your baby. If your baby is suffering from any of the following conditions then it is advisable to wait until your baby is better before massaging.
- Acute infection
- Undiagnosed lumps or bumps
- Protruding veins
- Open sores or painful skin conditions
- Less than 72 hours after immunisation
If your baby has any of the above or you have any concerns then please visit your doctor for advice.
Testimonial by Cornelia Guenzel-Dahinten from Conscious Parenting
This is a wonderful video clip showing how touch and warm water can soothe, comfort and calm newborns.