1. It will help you and your baby relax
Think about that glorious feeling you have after having a massage, hopefully you would of felt totally relaxed! (Well hopefully if you had a good therapist)
Now think of your baby, at the right time of day, when they are happy, alert and not hungry (yes there is a small window of opportunity at some point of the day I promise) they can receive a lovely relaxing massage. Now I am not saying it has to be a full blown body massage, even a leg massage after kicking all day, a back massage to relive any tension or a tummy massage to help with colic, (more on colic later) wind or constipation. Even a 5 minute massage at a time that suits you and your baby is just as good as a 20 minute massage. By knowing baby massage you will have the techniques to help relax your baby and will be confident in doing so.
Pick a time that suits you and your baby, now for some that may be first thing in the morning, for others it may be before bedtime as part of their night-time routine and for some it may be during the day while doing a nappy change. Also note for some babies a massage can be lovely and relaxing and can promote sleep, and for other babies it may be stimulating and may make them feel alert.
2. It will help you bond together
For most parents a bond can happen instantly, but for some this bond may not happen straight away, this is when mothers need the most support and love without having any fear of judgement.
By massaging your baby you can help develop a strong emotional and social bond between yourself and your baby. Touch is the most developed sense at birth and through massage you can communicate love, security and trust to your baby immediately.
Through eye contact, talking and singing to your baby, sharing the exchange of smell between one another, you can use massage to help develop your baby’s unique attachment to you, all these elements will help you develop your bond.
3. Will give you the techniques to help relieve baby related issues.
From what I have studied about colic and heard through what other parents have shared with me, I can only say it must be the toughest and most challenging time of being a parent. By using the correct massage techniques for the tummy, you can help relieve colic pains, trapped wind and constipation.
Now I think every parent can relate to a teething baby, it is such a hard stage for you and your baby, but also such excitement and joy when their first little tooth finally starts appearing under those red gums. With using specific massage techniques on the face, we can alleviate pain around the gums by releasing endorphins.
4, Helps with your baby’s development
This is something I wish I had known when I had my babies but by massaging your baby you are helping their development.
It is scientifically proven that babies that are massaged have better immune systems and show more weight gain, this is why having skin to skin is fantastic. By massaging your baby you are stimulating all their internal systems and boosting their circulation. You will be enhancing the process of myelination* (further explanation of this coming up) speeding up nerve pulses, which will help with your baby’s development of communication, speech and language.
*Myelination is the process of when a neuron is coated in a fatty substance, allowing the neuron to transmit signals a lot quicker around the brain and body, by massaging your baby you are helping to speed up this process
5. There is no right or wrong way
Of course you can massage your baby without a routine, the positive interaction is still hugely beneficial for you and your baby. Even if you happen to go anti clockwise on the tummy when massaging the abdomen, will not harm your baby, but it will not help relieve your baby’s pain if they have colic.
By learning a massage routine and attending a class, you will gain knowledge such as what the benefit is for each massage stroke you apply to your baby, you will learn lots of lovely songs that your baby will love to listen to and by attending a class you will find connection, friendship and support from others in the class.
Even when your baby is older, they will still enjoy having a massage, they may go through a wriggly stage but massage can be adapted to follow their needs. My children love having a massage and this is such a great moment for us to relax and have a chat together after they have had a hard day at school.
6. It is not just for babies
As your baby gets older and more wriggly and not wanting to stay still, it can be hard to keep massage into your routine. By adapting the massage to suit your babies needs you can hopefully still keep it part of your daily or weekly routine, such as bedtime.
I massage my children once a week, before bedtime, they are now 8 and 5, but they absolutely love it. We have a lovely chat about school and they open up about anything that may be bothering them. They can sometimes complain of their legs hurting, so a leg massage can help with growing pains. If they have a tummy ache, a tummy massage can help get everything moving around again.
So please don’t think massage is only for babies it is a great way to stay connected with your child or children.