Friday, 18 March 2011

Baby Massage

Recently I came across a few articles on the benefits of baby massage, that got me thinking about our own experience with baby massage, which I thought I might share with you. We first decided to try baby massage when Miss Ej was only a couple of weeks old as we found she was getting distressed when bath time was over. At first it was for only a few minutes at a time as she was not that receptive to the massage, but gradually as she became used to the routine she enjoyed the experience and it also became a special bonding time shared between hubby and her as it was something they could do together. We found also that during the day if she would become restless it was something we could use to settle her, as she suffered at times with bad wind. Still today we always finish her bath time off with a massage which she loves, in fact sometimes she is trying to hop out before she has had her bath just to have her massage, We have found that it helps her to be calm and relaxed ready for bed.
Below is selected extracts from one of the articles which is written by Pinky McKay, I thought it may be of interest to you if you are thinking of trying it. For more information or to have a look at some of her books which are available go to her website http://www.pinkymckay.com.au/

The Benefits of a Loving Touch
Although it is difficult to measure the effects of spontaneous touch between parents and babies such as all of the smooching, tickling and blowing of raspberries and tiny tummies, there are a number of studies into early skin to skin contact and baby massage showing amazing benefits for babies.
By taking a little time each day to introduce baby massage it can be a wonderful time of sharing for either parent. Massaging your baby stimulates all of your little one's senses through skin contact, eye contact and your familiar smell as well as hearing your voice and experiencing a focused response. This loving interaction and sensory experience is hard wiring your baby's immature brain for emotional and neurological development. As you touch and talk to your little one and share eye contact, you stimulate the development of connections between nerve cells in your baby's brain that will form foundations for thinking, feeling and learning.

Do you have time to massage?
It can be daunting to think you have to fit another activity into your already busy day, just because it is good for your baby, but massage and 'touchy feely' games ('round and round the garden' or 'this little piggy') can be easily incorporated into the busiest days, even if you have several littlies.

Giving your baby a mini massage
Set up a quiet, warm space. Sit comfortably and relax breathing deeply. Undress your baby and keep him warm, then pour a small amount of natural vegetable oil (such as olive oil) in your palm and rub your hands together as you make eye contact and ask your baby, "would you like a massage?"
Legs and feet (one leg at a time)
Cup your hands and alternating your hands (one supports baby's ankle as the other strokes) 'milk' baby's leg from hip to ankle. Firmly stroke baby's sole from heel to toes then roll each toe. Finish by stroking both legs together from hips to ankles.
Stomach
With one hand following the other, massage baby's stomach in continuous clockwise circles(following baby's colon as this is the direction the food travels).
Chest
Place both hands on baby's chest. With fingers flat, stroke up baby's sternum, around the top of the chest, out to the shoulders, then back down to the bottom of your baby's sternum, making a heart shape. Then, stroke gently outwards over baby's shoulders.
Arms and hands
'Milk' the arms one at a time, from shoulder to fingertips, then massage baby's hands by pressing your own thumbs into his palm, before gently squeezing and rolling each finger. If baby's hands are clenched shut, stroke or kiss the back of his hand to encourage him to open his hand.
Face
With both hands supporting baby's head, make gentle circles on baby's scalp. Then with flat fingers, stroke from the centre of the forehead out to the temples. With your fingertips, massage in small circles around baby's jaw.
Back
Roll baby over onto his tummy or (if he resists tummy time) place him on his tummy (with his arms forward) across one of your thighs. With one hand on baby's bottom, swoop your other hand from baby's shoulders to buttocks. Finish by lightly 'combing' baby's back with your fingertips, from shoulders downwards, alternating hands. Gradually stroke lighter and slower, then finish by placing your hands on your baby's back and breathe slowly with your baby
Enjoy a cuddle with your calm, relaxed baby.

Do you have an experience with baby massage that you would like to share? We would love to hear from you.

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