Baby Massage – The Benefits
Getting to know your baby’s skin through massage is a great way to check for any developing problems such as dry skin or nappy rash and help you become more sensitive to baby’s needs.
Massage is an excellent way to connect if your baby was born prematurely. For babies born pre-term, massage helps them to gain weight, digest food better, support their circulation and comfort them when teething, after immunisations, or feeling unwell. It can also help to steady their heart rate and develop their brain activity. Many of these benefits also help if your baby was born later than 37 weeks of pregnancy.
Massage helps your baby to release the hormone oxytocin leaving your baby calm and ready to sleep. You will also benefit from a release of oxytocin during the massage – as skin to skin creates a feeling of love, bonding, and a connection with your baby. The bond between you and your baby can be increased using massage and don’t forget Dad – he can have a role with infant massage and skin to skin as he has oxytocin too!
Look for signs when your baby is ready to be washed and then massaged. Signs such as hand to mouth and face; bracing feet and legs; clasping hands and/or feet together, tucking body – arms and legs drawn in; grasping and holding on; looking and attending to you. Your baby may display some or few of these to let you know they are happy with whichever activity you are planning – washing, massage, playtime.
You might want to test whether your baby likes being massaged by massaging either his legs or arms first – you might want to do this whilst holding baby rather than lying them down. Use different ways of stroking your baby and look for clues of the way baby prefers to be touched – fingers tips, whole fingers or whole hands. Does your baby like you to be really gentle or are they happy with a firmer touch? Don’t forget to do their fingers and toes – and you could always sing a nursery rhyme at the same time.
The Earth Friendly Baby Shea Massage Oil has been approved for use with sensitive skin, even eczema, it does not contain any ‘nasties’ and neither does the bottle it comes in; it’s an award winning product, made in the UK and is certified as 100% natural and 50% organic.
Massaging has many benefits for babies, especially those born early, and for mums and dads. As parents you will become familiar with your baby’s skin and body and become more confident in handling them. Bonding between the 3 of you can only be strengthened and these are ways to literally keep in touch with your baby.
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