The Many Benefits of a Baby Massage

January 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, Newborn Care

More and more, people are learning about the benefits of giving their baby a massage. Adults love massages and so do babies. Not only does a massage feel good, it has also been used for treating various health issues such as colic, asthma, and dermatitis.

As soon as a baby is born, they are exposed to sights, sounds, touches, smells, and all kinds of new things. Going through the birth canal and then being faced with the new environment is stressful. All of the different stimuli is being processed and used for their development, which is why gentle touch from parents is so important.

Numerous studies have been conducted that show babies are naturally interested in learning about their environment. This is why young babies will reach for things, roll over, and follow people around the room. All of these experiences are part of their development. After all, their world is now one full of sights and sounds that babies find fascinating.

With a baby massage, you can encourage exploration and development.

One of the most popular types of massages is working the hands in a kneading type motion, gently. This touch actually creates not only security in the baby but it also helps to relax. This close connection between baby and parent is special, something the baby is very much aware of and loving it.

A baby massage creates a unique opportunity for parent and child to bond and solidify their relationship. When you apply gentle strokes but slight pressure, you can reduce stress in the baby all while providing him or her with reassurance. Of course as the parents, you benefit by the bonding experience.

Additionally, when giving your baby a massage, you are also helping the mind. As your baby grows, all types of physiological changes are occurring and during a massage, these changes are heightened. Massage actually stimulates both mind and body, as well as helps to boost the immune system because of less stress.

The key with this is to make sure you are giving your baby a massage in the right way. For instance, touch should always be gentle, remembering that this tiny newborn has very fragile skin, bones, and muscles.

Even the atmosphere in which the massage is being given will be beneficial. You want to set time aside in a room where there is soft music playing, low lights, and even aromatherapy. This will help you relax, as well as the baby. As far as the best time of day for giving your baby a massage, we recommend 30 minutes prior to putting him or her down for bed.

Another consideration for the massage is being in a room that is not too old or too hot. The baby’s body is still adjusting to outside temperatures so you want him or her to be as comfortable as possible. Additionally, your baby will get the most out of the massage without clothes. The best option is to warm your hands, choose a soft, nice smelling lotion, and use slow, gentle motions.

Keeping the room darkened but light enough so your baby can see your face is the perfect atmosphere. This creates a peaceful, relaxing place so your baby is completely relaxed.

Most experts recommend a daily massage but no more than 10 or 15 minutes for each massage or the baby’s body could become sore. There are many benefits to a baby massage to include special bonding time, physical and psychological stimulation, relaxation, and a boost of the baby’s immune system.