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Benefits of Baby Massage

Benefits of Baby Massage

Massage is one activity which should be part of every baby’s daily routine. Babies thrive on the comfort of their parents touch in the early days and are more settled when in the arms of mom or dad.

Touch is a natural comforting tool that most moms use intuitively when their baby is born. From caressing baby, to kisses, hugs and swaddling.

There are many different approaches to baby massage, so try a few methods to see which works best for you and your baby. Massage also has positive benefits for mom and dad as it helps you to get to know your baby, thereby increasing your confidence in your parenting role.

Massage is suitable for all babies. However, babies react differently to massage depending on levels of tiredness, and whether baby has any sensitivities to the sense of touch.

It is really important that you listen to your baby's cues and responses. Make this a positive experience for both you and baby. If you feel like your baby isn't enjoying it, perhaps stop and try again another time. These cues are critical to ensuring massage is a positive experience for your baby.

 

The benefits of baby massage are numerous:

1. Bonding

Massage encourages positive bonding between parent and baby at an early stage

2. Health

Physiological benefits of massage include better breathing for your baby, improved lymph and blood circulation and gastrointestinal function

3. Calming

Massage is calming on the nervous system and is excellent for colic and sleep

4. Body Awareness

Massage creates connections in the brain which are central to the development of body awareness


Top tips for baby massage:
  • Your baby will get the most benefit from massage when he is calm. Your baby may not respond well to massage if he is over tired
  • Do not massage your baby for a few days after immunisations. His temperature may be slightly raised resulting in the massage being uncomfortable
  • Be cautious when massaging the stomach area as it can make your baby sick if he can not yet tolerate the pressure of the massage
  • At all times keep your baby’s joints well aligned to prevent damage to the joints
  • When massaging apply gentle pressure
  • Always respect your baby. If your baby cries or is irritable during the massage, stop and try again at a later time or leave it for a few days before trying again
  • Remember to tell your baby what you are going to do
  • Warm your hands prior to massaging, remove jewellery and keep your nails short
  • Check the environment is warm, relaxing and free of distractions
  • Be aware of your own posture when massaging your baby, especially a stooping posture which will put additional strain on your back and neck
  • Have a change of clothes to hand to put your baby into when the massage is completed
  • As your baby gets older, a toy may keep him occupied during the massage (after 4 months)
  • Lastly, as a mom relax and enjoy this precious experience with your baby
For more developmental advice, contact Fiona O'Farrell at fionaofarrell.ie

This article has been sponsored by the JOHNSON’S® brand.

About the Author

Fiona O’Farrell is a Paediatric Occupational Therapist, specialising in baby development, premature babies and is an experienced sleep consultant, validated by the department of health. For information on workshops and sleep consultations visit fionaofarrell.ie or Facebook. Call Fiona on 0879144323

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