Naturally Mama.

From one natural mama to another…

Infant massage: benefits and techniques November 12, 2010

Touch is important for a strong bond with your baby. Aside from caressing your baby’s cheek or stroking your baby lightly while he/she is in your arms, baby massage is a great way to incorporate touch into your relationship and strengthen the bond between you and your little one. This is something that you can do daily when the mood is right, or at a specific time such as bedtime, as part of a routine to help baby relax.
What are other benefits of infant massage?
  • Stimulates nerve growth and increases blood flow throughout the body
  • Strengthens baby’s immune system
  • Helps to relieve discomfort from gas/digestive issues
  • Helps baby relax and sleep more soundly
  • Decreases stress
  • Encourages body awareness
  • Encourages sensory development

These are only some of the known benefits of infant massage. Intrigued to give it a try? Find a comfy, safe place and undress baby down to a diaper, or down to nothing if you wish. There are many massage techniques, most of which simply involve long, soft strokes with moistened hands and fingers. Here are a couple of techniques to incorporate into your massage:

The I LOVE YOU technique:

  1. Lay baby on his/her back and use a little it of Calendula oil or lotion on your fingertips. . With 2 fingers beginning under the chest bone, starting on baby’s left side (his left, not yours) make a stroke down the belly in a line. This represents the letter I in I LOVE YOU. Use a bit of pressure, as this can help relieve any gas.
  2. Next, starting from the opposite side of baby’s tummy, do a sideways letter L. The top of the L is on baby’s right side, going across to the left side of the tummy. When you get to the left side, draw the bottom of the L toward the bottom of the tummy.
  3. Then draw an upside down U starting on baby’s lower right side of tummy and ending on baby’s lower left side of tummy.
  4. Repeat this ILU technique a few times.

The ROCK THE BOAT technique:

  1. This technique doesn’t need any extra oil than might already be on your hands. Beginning with baby lying on his/her back, put your hand sideways across baby’s lower abdomen. Slowly rock your hand with a bit of pressure, transferring the weight of your hand from your palm to your fingertips, being careful not to press so hard that it hurts baby, so that it helps to relive any built up pressure in their tummy.
  2. Repeat as many times as you wish, watching baby’s response and cues.

Again, these are only a couple of techniques to try. Some good tips would be to keep eye contact with your baby the entire time he/she in on their back, sing or calmly talk to baby while massaging, make sure environment is correct temperature and that the lighting is not too bright, and for this to be a special, quiet place where you and your baby can get the most out of this wonderful bonding experience. Light touch all over the body, in firm yet soft long strokes, is the touch that’s most likely to please and calm your baby.  Use your judgment when deciding what will feel best for baby. This is a wonderful way to show your love and strengthen your relationship with your little one.

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