Infant massage has a host of amazing benefits for your baby. Victoria Massia from Life Baby gives you the low-down on infant massage.
Q. How did infant massage begin?
A. Infant massage has strong historical roots originating with Ayurvedic medicine in India around 1800 BCE.
Q. Why is baby massage good for babies?
A. Touch is a universal language that transcends all religions, colours, cultures and creeds. It is the mother sense, and as such it is the baby’s first language. Touch is as vital to the health of a baby as any vitamin or mineral, creating a special bond between baby and caregiver.
Q. What is considered to be the most vital time in a baby’s life?
A. The first 1001 days of a child’s life – from conception to mobility – is recognised as being the most vital time in the baby’s development. It is the prime period where the roots of emotional, physical and physiological health are laid down.
Q. What are two benefits of infant massage?
A. Infant massage has both emotional and physical benefits. Developing a loving touch through massage can help your baby to relax and ease tensions associated with separation anxiety. It also promotes attachment through eye contact and touch. On a physical level, skin-to-skin contact evokes physiological responses that regulate a baby’s vital body rhythms. Regular massage produces healthy growth and development, as it increases the production of growth hormones from the pituitary gland. It also increases circulation.
Q. How does tummy time assist baby?
A. Tummy time helps to strengthen baby’s back in a way the baby cannot do in any other natural position. Time spent on the belly will also prevent plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome. Massaging the tummy assists in relieving gasses, constipation and cramps.
Q. Which part of the baby’s body do we start massaging?
A. Most babies prefer massage to begin with their legs and feet and continue up the body, as this is a non-invasive and gradual approach that allows them to get used to the routine.
Q. What are other benefits of starting the massage at your baby’s legs and feet?
A. Starting at your baby’s legs and feet also encourages the flexibility of all the baby’s joints, relaxes the muscles and provides the baby with a solid foundation for good posture and later mobility. Leg exercises also promotes a healthy guy.
Q. How often can you massage your baby and when is the best time?
A. Massage your baby regularly – ideally every day – unless baby is unwell. Finding a good time to massage your baby can make all the difference as to whether or not they enjoy it. A good time to massage your baby is last thing at night, after bathing, or any time during the day when baby is most relaxed and responsive.
Don’t massage baby just after a feed, as they will be too full and the process can be uncomfortable. Don’t massage when baby is hungry, either as they are unlikely to tolerate being massaged for any length of time. Try to be consistent with the timing of your massage, so that your baby will learn to anticipate and look forward to the session. Massaging before bedtime or before a nap will help your baby to sleep better.