Infant massage is a great way to bond with your baby and not only does it promote relaxation for your baby, but also for you too.
Most new mums are told that breastfeeding is the best way to bond with their baby but for many mums breastfeeding is not always possible.
Research has shown that infant massage can be therapeutic for mums suffering post-natal depression. It is also a wonderful way for dads and older siblings to bond with their baby.
Babies love to be touched through cuddles, kisses and being rocked, our baby’s best friend is us.
The benefits of infant massage are endless it can help strengthen the immune system which is so important for babies as they are prone to picking up every little bug that is going around. For premature babies research has shown that infant massage is valuable in weight gain.
The benefits of infant massage are endless. It can help strengthen the immune system which is so important for babies as they are prone to picking up every little bug that is going around.
Infant massage helps with developing babies coordination and has also been shown to help babies sleep longer and deeper (just what parents want!), reduce stress in babies (yes thatís right - even babies get stressed! All those voices, loud noises, brightly coloured objects, and non-stop kisses and cuddles can all become too much!).
One of the best areas that baby massage can help with is wind, colic, reflux and constipation - which pretty much every baby experiences at some point and causes great discomfort to them and to us watching our little ones in pain.
Dr Tiffany Field, Ph.D., from the Touch Research Institute in Miami, has spent the past 25 years researching massage therapy. She conducted a study on young children with eczema who received daily massage from their parents, to see whether their symptoms decreased.
For one month, the parents of the first group massaged their children’s prescribed eczema treatment into their skin for 20 minutes each day.
The second group applied their prescribed eczema treatment to their children’s skin with no massage.
The study found that the children from the first group who received the daily massage were less anxious and that the symptoms of redness, scaling, itching, thickening and skin abrasions had decreased significantly.
And of course, the best reason for Infant Massage its FUN.
A combination of Indian, Swedish and reflexology massage strokes are used each with different benefits.
Indian stroking away from the body
These strokes take tension and illness away from the body which promotes relaxation and good health.
Swedish stroking towards the body
These strokes stimulate and promote good circulation which helps with elimination of toxins.
Reflexology on the feet:
Certain parts of the foot represent certain parts of the body, so when tension occurs in any part of the foot then tension also occurs in the corresponding part of the body.
An organic cold pressed plant oil is best as it is rich in vitamins and minerals and will assist with healing of skin irritations such as dryness and chafing, whilst also moisturizing the skin, the lighter the oil the better to help aid absorption and slippage.
There is no time limit to infant massage just observation of your child's behaviour of when they have had enough (squirming, crying, hitting out) and the knowledge that babies are stimulated very easily and we all know what happens to our babies when they are over stimulated (squirming, crying, hitting out).
Don’t worry if your child isn’t interested in having a massage today there is always another day and like all of us even babies have times when they don’t want to be touched no matter how relaxing. Especially children between 10 and 18 months of age when they are experiencing freedom through crawling and walking and they’re just too busy exploring their environment to stop and have a massage they will always come back to it.
Always ask baby for permission to massage this can be done by rubbing your hands together above baby while asking “Do you want a massage?” observe your baby’s response.
Always use firm strokes as light strokes can be ticklish and irritating for baby.
The legs are the best area to start at as they are the least intrusive.
Infant Massage for Baby Eczema
As a baby with eczema will have sore, irritated skin and is more prone to skin infections use downward strokes, towards hair growth only, for example hip to ankle, shoulder to wrist.
10 Basic strokes for Infant Massage
Finish off with palm over the neck and upper back and one palm at base of the spine hold this position and gently rock while saying “all done” “all finished now”