With the arrival of the TLC Oil in store, Aaron and I thought it would be great to give the Mums and Dads a quick reference guide for how to massage your baby. There are so many incredible benefits from infant massage and although it may seem daunting at first, it is really very easy and very relaxing for both you and baby.
Infant massage can be a beneficial experience for both baby and parent. It promotes bonding and can even improve a new parent’s self-esteem, according to the International Association of Infant Massage. Furthermore, your baby could experience health benefits including improved circulation and better digestion. Infant massage can be especially beneficial for babies with colic and those who have trouble falling asleep. Remember, though, that not all babies enjoy massage. If your baby seems irritated by it, skip it and bond in other ways.
Start a massage session with an infant by making sure he is safe and comfortable. Make sure the room is warm, and place him on a surface where he will be safe from falling or bumping himself. For example, lay a blanket on the floor for the baby to lay on. Before starting a massage, wash your hands and make sure they are warm.
If your baby is 4 months or older, a good time to massage is after a bath. Babies are warm after a bath, and many babies get a bath before bedtime. A massage can help the baby relax and fall asleep more easily. If your baby is under 4 months, she may prefer a massage at another time of day to prevent overstimulation. Because babies often fall asleep during or immediately after a massage, avoid massages when the baby is hungry or just before feeding. Take care not to massage on baby’s abdomen immediately following a feed or when she has the hiccups.
When massaging an infant, start by using small circular and stroking motions while he lies on his back. Start the massage on baby’s legs and feet, as this is the least intrusive. Move up towards the tummy area, keeping your strokes in a clockwise motion as this is the direction of the digestive tract. Then move over the shoulders, down the arms, and to the finger tips. Gently turn baby over onto his tummy and stroke down his back (be mindful of the spinal area), do some small circles on the buttocks, and then his legs and feet. Finish the back with some long strokes from head to toe. Your Baby might also enjoy some facial massage.
Babies like hearing voices, and hearing the voice of a parent can help with bonding, according to the International Association of Infant Massage. When massaging a baby, talk in a soft, soothing voice or sing lullabies.
Do you have any stories to share about infant massage?
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