You’ve experienced it. Your baby is fast asleep on your chest and the moment you set him down he jolts himself awake and begins crying. You pick him up to soothe him back to sleep; he passes out immediately. If picking your baby up soothes him so well, imagine what the benefits of baby massage are! Envision how relaxed he will be post-massage.
..studies have shown that massaging an infant can reduce crying and fussiness, help her sleep more peacefully, and alleviate common wail-inducers like constipation and colic. Some say that it even boosts a baby’s ability to fight off germs. // parenting.com
Not only can baby massage relax and soothe your baby, but it is also an extremely special way to express your love for him. It is never too early or late to begin massaging your little one. The benefits are great and many, and all you need is 10-15 minutes. We suggest making it part of your evening routine and, if possible, massaging when your baby is calm but awake and alert. If you attempt to soothe him with massage while he is screaming and uncomfortable, you may end up perpetuating his discomfort and only increasing his fussiness.
“When you give your baby a massage, you’re actually stimulating her central nervous system,” explains Tiffany Field, PhD, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine. “That sets off a chain reaction: It makes her brain produce more serotonin, a feel-good chemical, and less cortisol, a hormone that’s secreted in response to stress. As a result, your baby’s heart rate and breathing slow down, and she becomes more relaxed.”
Here are five amazing baby massage benefits:
1. Baby massage helps your baby develop mentally, socially, physically. Massaging your baby promotes bonding, which is never a bad thing. You will naturally make eye contact and talk or sing to him. As you begin building this into your routine you will learn to read your baby’s cues, deepening your bond and attachment. Bonding and attachment are key ingredients to healthy mental, social, and physical development.
2. Baby massage helps normalize muscle tone. This is especially important for preemie babies or babies who may have had substance exposure prenatally (adoptive parents, this is something you are often preparing for!).
Premature babies who were massaged on a regular basis showed an average of 21-47% greater weight gain over preemies who did not receive any type of massage. // yourbabycandothis.com
A few benefits of massaging your preemie and or adopted baby are: quick bonding between mommy or daddy and baby; weight gain; shorter hospital stays; promoted brain maturation.
3. Baby massage helps your baby sleep deeper and more peacefully. For the first 4 to 6 weeks, sleepless nights are pretty much inevitable. Newborns are erratic and won’t be on any sort of schedule before then. This often lasts up to 12 weeks, but this doesn’t mean you should skip the baby massage! Baby massage will still relax your little one, and can even help encourage a more regular sleeping pattern.
4. Baby massage may help with colic. Babies with colic often have extreme discomfort in their abdomen; baby massage aids in supporting these precious little developing muscles, decreasing discomfort.
5. Baby massage provides a special time of communication that fosters love, compassion, and respect. This one speaks for itself: your baby develops fully when routinely communicated to that he or she is loved and respected.
There are plenty of baby massage benefits as it improves both baby’s wellbeing and your own. There is absolutely nothing bad produced from baby massage. We suggest you find a local midwife or class and learn the basics of the various techniques to massage your precious little one.