The benefits of baby massage can range from a more structured sleep to increased mental capacity and brain stimulation. Here are tips on giving a soothing baby massage and its benefits.
What is baby massage?
Baby massage is a gentle and balanced stroking of you baby’s body with your hands. You can rhythmically and softly move your hands around your baby’s back, ankles, fingers, and tummy. The massage strokes used on adults are completely different from the strokes to be used on newborns. You can adapt the adult strokes to massage your child. Just make sure that your strokes are lighter on them. The younger they are, more delicate and smaller will be the strokes be.
The skin to skin touch helps you and your baby bond, comforts your baby when she/he is upset or uneasy with gas or colic problems. Touch is a critical part of growth and development.
Benefits of Baby Massage:
Baby massage can benefit you and your baby in many short and long term ways.
Sleep Pattern: When babies are correctly massaged, they spend more time being quiet and calm, yet alert. So when they do fall asleep, it’s much more deep and restful, resulting in a more structured sleep pattern.
Bonding: Doing a massage right after getting home from work will help you reconnect with baby after a hard day, helping you both relax. Once you have developed a massage routine, this will be a skill you can use during times when food, nor a fresh diaper is easing the baby. Even when circumstances cause a change in routine, a daily massage can be the hub of your baby’s nighttime routine and the element that helps them prepare to fall into a restorative sleep.
Development: Infant massage has also been shown to positively benefit physical development. The rhythmic strokes of baby massage can increase circulation and improve respiration, which helps infants overcome eating, gastrointestinal, weight gain, or overall physical development challenges.
Cognitive Function: Baby massage also helps infants learn about their body and stimulates brain function. The interaction between parent and child during the massage can stimulate the child’s mental faculties as well, resulting in increased cognitive function.
Parent’s Confidence: Just with the simple act of eye contact, smiling, or vocalizing during baby massage has shown an increase in self-esteem as parents, particularly with fathers. One study finds that after a month of baby massage, there was increased interaction during playtime and overall more enjoyment.
Tips for Baby Massage:
Timing: You’ll really be the best judge of this, but try and find a time when your baby isn’t too full or too alert, but as he/she is at a more calming state.
Cream or Massage Oil: Using a cream or oil can help prevent irritation on your baby’s skin. There are more eco-friendly and safe massage oils and creams out there now that contain natural ingredients. We recommend Babytime Massage Serum, enriched with probiotics or Babo Botanicals Calming Baby Lotion with meadowsweet oil.
Baby’s Response: Stay alert with ques from your baby. Your baby will hint at what he/she does or does not like by crying or staying calm.
Follow a routine: Your baby will be comforted by routine and knowing which strokes are next and that bedtime is likely next. This is a great contributor to baby’s cognitive development.
The benefits of baby massage are great for parent and baby. Getting into a daily routine of baby massage can help increase restorative sleep periods, promote physical and cognitive development, as well as gain confidence as a parent.