>> Jun 21, 2012
The benefits of infant massage are manifold. In fact, a number of the benefits of baby massage are not only for babies -- they are also reassuring and comforting parents who want to do the best for their baby and provide as much care and comfort as possible.
Why massage a baby?
Baby massage offers a wonderful way to bond with your son or daughter and many parents are delighted to learn that a number of studies have shown regular massage can reduce crying, alleviate symptoms of colic, enhance the baby’s immune system and assist with the development of better sleeping patterns. It comes as no surprise that these are highly desirable ends for parents and babies.
For mothers experiencing postnatal depression, there is some evidence to show that baby massage can help to overcome some of the effects and symptoms of depression and build the emotional connection that exists between mother and baby.
Points to know about baby massage... should you use a baby massage oil?
● If a baby is healthy, it is usually safe to massage him or her from birth onwards. Use of a gentle, natural baby massage oil is generally safe and can enhance the experience of the massage.
● While baby massage can reduce crying, it is generally not recommended that massage be used as a technique to calm a baby that is already upset or distressed. However, baby massage has been proven to fix specific conditions such as wind, colic, constipation or reflux.
● There is no need to massage your baby for a particular length of time -- you may massage your baby for as long or short a time as you both wish. However, as a baby becomes familiar with the experience, it is advisable to start with shorter massages.
● A baby should never be forced to be massaged. In the event that your baby exhibits signs of tiredness or irritability while being massaged, it is best to stop and try again at another time.
● If your baby wants to change positions, allow him or her to do so. You can learn a lot by observing your baby’s behaviours and body language.
● Infant massage is most successful if you are able to relax and follow the same pattern in the course of each massage -- this way, your baby will learn what to expect.
● Playing soft music as you massage your baby can also deliver benefits as your baby may form an association between the music, relaxation and even going to bed.
● Baby massage should never be too deep or hard, but it should also not be too light.
Infant massage and crying:
Crying is often a huge concern for parents, who feel distressed and compelled to ‘fix the problem’ when their baby is upset. Many parents feel their baby cries too much and are interested to learn techniques and strategies to soothe and comfort their child.
A number of studies have shown that for infants, older babies and toddlers who receive massage, there is a reduction in the amount of crying time. There are many reasons why this is the case, but because baby massage can help to relieve wind, colic and even constipation -- just some of the reasons babies cry -- it is definitely feasible that this connection is made.
Similarly, when massage is an enjoyable and relaxing experience for a baby, he or she is less likely to cry and more likely to enjoy this component of their daily routine.
Infant massage is important for many reasons and can deliver some very positive and desirable benefits. There is an ever-increasing belief that baby massage can reduce crying and, when this is considered with the other potential benefits of the practice, it is apparent that baby massage is good and worthwhile for all babies.