Baby massages and their Benefits

Massaging is a wonderful way to connect to and care for your baby. They have a soothing effect and make your little one fall asleep more easily. Did you know massages aid in healthy weight gain due to increased appetite? Neither did we but as it turns out, they have many additional benefits. A soft massage will also contribute to a better digestion and help take care of gas, constipation and cramps. To top it all off, you might also find that massaging lifts your own mood and gives you a feeling of empowerment as a parent because of the intimate and special time spent with your baby.

 

What is baby massage?

Baby massage is gently caressing your baby’s body using your hands and possibly a special oil or moisturizer. Remember, this might be new to your baby in the beginning so make him feel at ease by talking softly or singing a song while massaging gently. All this will benefit the complicity the two of you have. Massaging resembles the softness of the womb and its familiar movements so naturally, your litte peanut will relax. The soft strokes of your hands will additionally stimulate the production of the feel-good hormone oxytocin in you, your baby and even in your partner if he or she is watching.

 

What are the benefits of massaging your baby?

Massaging your baby has a lot of advantages for your baby, but also for you and your partner. Massaging enables:

 

  • Better sleep
  • Less Cry & Fuss
  • Relaxation

 

See these 15 minutes as a special time set aside for you and your baby. No distractions, just the both (or the three) of you. You will be focused merely on each other and this is why baby massage can also be beneficial for mum’s who are at a risk of depression. Many dads miss out on a lot of hands-on care for their baby’s, especially if the baby is breastfed. Massaging the baby before bedtime can become part of their daily routine and help dads and their baby get closer.

 

When is the best time?

Your baby shouldn’t be too hungry or too full during his massage since this will not be pleasant. Pick a time in between feeds. Your baby should be alert and willing to interact. Right before naptime is therefore not the best time of day. If you prefer the evening, you can make the massages part of your baby’s bedtime routine, somewhere after his bath and before a bedtime feed. These will help him wind down and get ready to relax and fall asleep.

 

What do I need for a massage?

It is important to find a place where you and your baby feel comfortable and where you can be together undisturbed. This means no barking dogs and no mobile phone. Make sure the room is at a nice temperature and there are no draughts. When you think your baby’s ready, set yourself up on the floor with a towel. Lay your baby down on a towel with a changing mat underneath so that he’s comfy. You can either massage him with his clothes on or naked if the temperature is nice enough. Using a special oil or moisturizer will help ease your movements and increase your baby’s pleasure of his massage. Be sure that the oil you’re using is suitable and your baby is non-allergic. Your child will feel your hands on his skin which helps him to be aware of his body and help him in creating his identity.

 

How should I massage?

In the beginning, start by massaging the legs. The legs, being less sensitive than other parts of the body, are a good place to begin. Your baby is also used to his legs being touched during nappy changes so starting here causes the least surprise. Your baby will appreciate a routine and know what is coming next. Therefore always start by massaging the legs, followed by the arms and the body. Keep going as long as he or she seems to be enjoying it. It’s important to read your child’s cues though. If he seems to be uncomfortable or starts crying before you have finished the massage, stop the massage and cuddle instead.

Some great ideas on massaging your baby can be found online but in doubt, make sure to consult your pediatrician.