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The Basics Of Baby Massage

What is Baby Massage & Its' Benefits?

Baby Massage is a wonderful way for parents to bond with their babies and research shows that it builds trust; helps relieve postnatal depression as well as relaxing your baby releasing trapped wind.  It also helps your baby’s coordination and body awareness.  Massaging at the end of the day or before naptime also helps them drift off to sleep.

There are additional benefits of baby massage:

  • Improved proprioception and recognition of their body
  • Helps a baby’s mental, social and physical development
  • Reduces heart rate and blood pressure encouraging a more restful baby
  • Improved weight gain for premature or small babies
  • Improved digestion including colic and gas
  • Less likely to be affected by disease
  • Improves baby’s nervous system
  • Enhanced bond for parent and baby
  • Helps your baby to stay relaxed
  • Reduces postnatal depression
  • Reduced crying and fussing
  • Improved circulation
  • Eased constipation
  • Improved sleep
  • Improves growth

Definition of Baby Massage

The practice of baby/infant massage provides the opportunity for parents to tune into their babies, communicate love and security and read their clues.  It encourages the crucial process of bonding as well as the infant’s action/reaction and the foundations of empathy.  It also helps the activation of the serve-and-return wiring in the brain, provide the basis of healthy brain architecture: particulary in relation to life long mental well being, empathy, emotional regulation and cognitive skills.’ (Felman et al 2013; National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2004; WHO 2004)

What is Serve and Return Wiring?

It helps shape brain architecture as when an infant or young child cries or makes gestures and then the adult responds appropriately with their eye contact, words or a hug then connections are made and improve in the childs brain that helps them develop their communication and social skills.

A Study’s Findings:

A study by Imperial College London in 2008 found that mothers who massaged their babies had significantly less depression than mothers who did not massage their baby.  A Study in 2004 where baby massage was used in intensive care units revealed that babies who had baby massage had slightly better scores on developmental tests, spent less time in hospital and had fewer postnatal complications.

When Not to Do Baby Massage

There are certain times it is not recommended to do baby massage:

  • Baby is crying or unwell
  • Baby has had a vaccine less than a week before
  • Baby is suffering from a soft tissue injury or fracture of any kind
  • Baby is undergoing specialist treatment unless medical permission has been given
  • Baby has any swelling or open sores
  • Baby has a temperature or fever
  • Baby has undergone recent surgery

Places to Avoid When Doing Baby Massage

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