Infant massage is a tradition within many ancient cultures and is now used worldwide. It promotes early bonding, which many studies have shown helps foster the emotional and physical growth of newborns.
Children thrive from having a parent or other adult who provides physical closeness. Infant massage is a natural and pleasant way to bond with a baby. In particular, it can help premature babies grow and develop.
Babies aren't as strong as adults, so you will need to be careful and massage your baby gently. Be sure to educate yourself with the many books and videos that are available of the subject. Some local hospitals have classes on infant massage.
The following procedures and tips are recommended to give your baby a massage:
1. Start after a bath or before sleep.
2. Use the pads of your fingers and apply pressure. Don't tickle.
3. Cradle your baby in your lap (face up) and start gentle strokes to the face and head. Be careful to avoid the fontanel (soft spots on the top of the baby's head).
4. Move down the torso and rub the arms and legs.
5. You can also turn your baby on her stomach to give a gentle back massage.
6. Fifteen minutes, or two ten-minute sessions, a day is enough.
The benefits of infant massage include the following:
1. It promotes bonding and attachment.
2. It relaxes your child and decreases stress for you and your baby.
3. It relieves your baby's discomfort from gas, colic, and constipation.
4. It helps your baby sleep better and cry less.
5. It stimulates brain development and sensory awareness.
6. You will learn to understand and respond to your baby's cues.
7. You will learn ways to soothe your baby.
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