Infant massage is a gentle massage that a parent or caregiver gives to their newborn. It is an excellent way to create a bond between the infant and the one providing the massage. This form of massage has been used for over centuries and with time has been modernized.
Massage has many benefits for your infant. It can promote relaxation, better sleep, and also have a positive effect on hormones that control stress in your infant. And for you parents that have colic babies, it has been proven to help with the digestive system and alleviate colic. Research also suggests that moderate pressure could promote growth for premature babies. These are some of the many benefits of infant massage.
When you are ready to start your massage create a calm atmosphere. You could choose between relaxing music or a quiet room. Place your infant on a bed or a blanket on the floor. Use a hypoallergenic oil or grapeseed oil. You could choose to not use any oil, but it is best to use one to have a better glide and not too much friction. Here are some steps to follow when you begin.
- Before you even start, ask your infant if they want to be massaged. Although they can’t answer you verbally they will be able to with their expressions or reaction. If your infant giggles or smiles then they want you to proceed. If they stiffen up or turn their heads, they are not ready for the massage. At this point, stop and try again later. They might just not be feeling well enough at the moment. Start by just touching your infant with both hands. If they are ready then you could continue to the next step.
- Begin by gently stroking along the body from the head down to the shoulders, along the arms, hands, waist, legs and feet. Spend several minutes doing this motion. Then you can also do light rubbing circles all over the body. Perform this with the infant on their back and then on their stomach. Make sure that your infant is properly positioned to not block their airway. And finally you can do some movements with the limbs of the infant. Slowly extend and flex the elbow, hands, hips, knees, and feet. This promote lymphatic movements.
- During the massage, make sure to keep eye contact and vocalize yourself to your infant. You could even use the word “relax” to help release tension. Express to them how you feel and pay attention to how they feel.
Your infant will likely love this massage and attention. They will thank you with a giggle or even a beautiful smile. Infant massage is excellent for both of you. Enjoy this bonding experience to its fullest. If you would like to learn more or learn how to perform a massage come see a Registered Massage Therapist and they would be pleased to show you. Know that you are never too young or old to receive a massage. Toddlers and children could also benefit from massage.
Written by: Jessica Nepton ,RMT