Baby massage can be very relaxing for both baby and mother. Babies can become stressed in new situations and they can also pick up stress and tension from their parents. Baby massage has wonderful benefits for both baby and mother on a physical and emotional level. Massage promotes the physical benefits of improved circulation, muscle tone and growth as well as relaxing baby and mother and is a powerful bonding process.
Studies have shown that there is a link between baby massage and improved post-natal depression. Bonding with your baby can take time and touch, eye-contact and quiet quality time together really promote bonding. Massage is a very worthwhile thing for fathers to learn too as it is a lovely way of bonding and connecting with your baby.
Baby massage has been used in many cultures for hundreds if not thousands of years. There are many places you can go to learn how to massage your baby. There are courses, or sessions run at baby clinics and children’s centers where you can go and learn some simple gentle strokes and routines you can also use at home.
You will usually need to take along a soft towel to lay your baby on and a spare nappy for afterwards as well as the usual feed your baby will require (babies are often hungry and tired after massage!). The center you use will be able to advise on any other requirements. Make sure that your center uses someone qualified specifically in baby massage and ask any questions you need to get the best out of your experience.
Baby massage can be particularly important with pre-term babies. Parents of pre-term babies are often afraid to touch their baby in a neonatal unit because they seem so fragile and they are afraid of disturbing vital equipment attached to the baby. It is very important however that pre-term babies experience positive gentle and loving touch as they also possibly endure less positive touch sensation due to essential medical procedures. Although massage is not suitable for all babies in neonatal care, specialist baby touch methods can be taught building up to massage and are a wonderfully positive experience for both baby and parents in this situation.
It is important to learn simple baby massage techniques from a professional who can demonstrate how to safely get the best out of this wonderful experience for both baby and parent or care-giver.