Infant Massage is an old art practiced for centuries in many cultures around the world. It is a way of nurturing the baby, a method of relieving pains and aches of the newborns, providing relaxation and pleasure.
Touch is the first sense developed in the womb – hence it is only natural to communicate with our baby this way. Yet each child is different, as different is each relationship between the carer and the baby. The key to harmony between them is listening to the baby’s cues, following his lead, acknowledging and fulfilling his needs. This principle is also applied during the infant massage routine, and so the massage helps to create a happy bond between the parent and the baby.
The very important step taken before each massage session is asking permission. Some caregivers have difficulty imagining how a baby could possibly tell them he is ready and willing to be massaged. Of course, answering this question requires an appreciation for the interpersonal capacities of newborn human infants, the meaning of their gaze, their facial expressions, their posture, and other non-verbal or pre-verbal expressions of comfort or distress.
Baby massage instruction helps you recognize your baby’s emotional and behavioral expressions. Learning when and how to seek permission before massaging a baby is a critical skill not only for infant massage, but also for achieving mastery of the care giving skills needed to provide what a baby needs most: love and a secure infant-caregiver attachment.
A baby massage is typically made of strokes applied to the whole body of the infant – legs, back, tummy, chest, arms, and face. It can be done as a complete routine or just some strokes can be practiced, on daily basis or whenever the baby expresses the need for it.
Though each family may discover on their own the wonders of baby massage, some benefits found by both research and everyday practice include:
- Enhanced bonding
- Involving and developing all senses
- Promoting relaxation and better sleep patterns
- Stimulating all bodily systems, including circulation, immunity and digestion
- Relieving constipation and gas
- Reduction in stress hormones in both parent and the baby
While you can learn and practice the massage at home, coming to infant massage classes together with your baby is a great way of meeting other parents and spending nice time with your baby out of the house.
Contact me to find out more, or learn how to massage your baby.