How to massage your baby
"All First learning experiences will make the difference for later"
Infantmassage is a loving, relaxing and playful way of being together with your baby.
I call it the ‘Touch Talk’:
speaking through your hands to baby’s body, heart and soul and feeling 100% love coming back to you.
The use of infantmassage in your daily life , at home or childcare centre, can make a big difference for a child’s development. Besides of all the wonderful effects like bringing relief at colics, stimulating sense, and relaxing by taking away stress hormones, there is one particular big benefit in infantmassage that I would like to emphasize.
In a massagemoment parents or caregivers slow down and connect truely to the baby (and themselves). They release the so called “love hormon” oxytocin and think or worry less about what is there to do outside the massage room.
In those moments adults and children bond, they start to be attached to eachother. They start to feel comfortable and safe in eachother’s company.
Attachment between mommy and baby
How does infantmassage work
Every parent or caretaker massages, touches, caresses, holds or hugs a child in his own way, nobody needs to learn how to do that, it comes naturally!
During the massage of an infant this natural instinct is being combined with different kind of strokes which help baby’s body to relax, to stimulate, to relief or to interact with the hands of the parent or caregiver.
Does every baby tolerate to be massaged
Every baby - starting from birth - can be massaged. It is possible that not all baby’s enjoy the touching as we thought they would. This does not mean that they don’t want to be massaged, they will need more time and observation from your side to open up. There are special methods in these case how to relax the baby with showing all respect of their state of being.
The massage itself is best done when baby can accept it, when it’s ready for it. You can see this readiness by looking at the cues baby is giving you. If you spend time with baby you will recognize baby’s bodylanguage, in which it indicates how it feels and what it desires.
An active alert baby after a massage
Massage from birth up to 6 months
You can massage a baby right from birth.
Starting at birth, the ‘resting hands’ of a mom or dad can guide a baby gently into his body.
In the following months, when baby grows more fast every day, the massage easies his day. It is the biggest natural boost for his immune system, because:
- It stimulates a better sleepingpattern
- It stimulates the senses
- It improves the quality of the skin
- Blood will circulate free after
- takes away stress hormones as cortisol
- Gives space to breath
- Reliefs small pains in belly, teeth, nose (in case of a cold)
From 6 months - 12 months
After 6 untill 12 months the massages should probably be more creative and following the mood and flow of the baby. Baby’s do not want to lay “still” anymore as they did in the first months of life. They become explorers with moving bodies to get to their biggest goal: learning to stand and walk.
A massage for older baby’s can be very stimulating:
- To make baby aware of the power of his own body that will lead him to independency.
- For the development of social emotional or cognitive skills. In a massage moment is the silence to explain and to be understood. Adults can insert playful activities for example peek a boo that teaches baby that a goodbye means a “I will come back to you”. Or do the ‘incy wincy spider’ massage, singing and acting out opposites as UP and Down on baby’s body.
After the first year
Massaging doesn’t need to stop at baby’s 1st birthday. Every age or personal situation of the child is special and needs only the right input from our side!
Massaging is a beautiful experience for premature born baby’s, children with special needs, high
sensitive children, toddlers and adolescents. It is also binding older brothers/sisters to their new born brother or sister.
Incy wincy Spider massage with a 2 year old
The practical part of a massage
If you want to practice an infantmassage it would be great if you could participate to a specialised infantmassagecourse or to inform yourself with books or video’s. The course is also a good way of getting in to touch and share experiences with other parents with their baby’s.
If you feel like massaging baby, and you see that baby is willing to accept the touching in a massaging kind of way, please remind the following:
to take a deep breath and feel how the door to the outer world is closing itself so you can be there for baby;
to ask permission to baby, prepare baby mentally for that what is coming;
Additionally you can prepare the room in a special way to create a intimate safe space.
More information on infant massage > 'Infant massage - the loving hands of an adult'
Part 1 : Introduction
Part 2 : Benefits
Part 3 : Reading baby's cues
Part 4 : The set up for an infant massage
Or find all and more on my PINTEREST Board!
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