Learn the Benefits of Baby Massages
As a parent, you are always looking for ways to nurture your little ones, and one of the best ways to bond with them is through baby massage!
Baby massage is a beautiful way to promote relaxation, aid digestion, and bond with your little one.
What is baby massage?
Gently stroking your baby's body with your hands is called baby massage. When you massage your baby, gently move their ankles, wrists, and fingers.
Additionally, to create a tranquil and secure atmosphere for your baby, try talking softly, humming, or gently singing to them while you massage them.
Massaging your baby can be beneficial at any age, and your toddler and older children can also reap its rewards.
A mindful massage technique can be incorporated for older children for even more significant results.
When to start
There is no definite age for when to start a baby massage. It is possible to provide nurturing touch from the day of birth. However, some babies may find structured massage too stimulating during the initial weeks.
Attending baby massage classes in the early weeks might be overwhelming for some babies and parents, who might be too occupied to attend regularly.
That's why many parents prefer to wait until their baby is around six weeks old and they have settled into a routine.
Moreover, starting after the six-week check is recommended to ensure that any developmental issues, such as hip dysplasia, can be identified.
What are the benefits of baby massage?
Adding a massage to your baby's or toddler's routine will benefit them so much, not only your baby but you too!
Bonding: One of the most advantageous outcomes of baby massage is creating a special bond with your little one. as it increases the parent's awareness of their baby's needs, getting to know each other, and supporting their early bond.
Baby massage is an excellent way for partners, family members, and carers to bond with the baby. It is a great way to nurture and strengthen their relationships, form meaningful and unique connections with them, and give them a sense of security and relaxation.
Reduces stress and promotes relaxation: Baby massage promotes relaxation and helps to reduce stress hormones such as cortisol in both parents and babies. This can lead to improved sleep and a greater sense of well-being.
Improves digestion: It stimulates blood circulation and the digestive system. Helping with gas, cramps, colic, constipation and muscular tension.
Promotes baby's sense of self: Helps to develop your baby's sense of self by exploring touch, vital for developing tactile sensitivity and motor skills, coordination, and balance. And understanding their physical self as they feel gentle pressure on different body parts. As you name each body part while you massage them, you teach them about their bodies.
Communication and language development: Singing and talking to your little one through their massage promotes communication and language, social and emotional development. Your baby loves hearing your voice and watching your every move. They learn so much from hearing and seeing you; they explore the basics of the language and discover new words and social cues by hearing your comments and watching your actions, expressions and gestures as you interact with them.
Increases awareness and alertness: Massage can help your little one to become more aware of their surroundings, increase their attention span and their cognitive thinking skills.
Improves skin condition: Massage can improve a baby's overall condition and texture, leading to a healthier appearance.
How to get started
When giving your baby a massage, there are a few things to remember:
Choose a moment when your baby or toddler is awake, active, and engaged with their environment, not tired or hungry. This will create an atmosphere where you can interact better with your little one.
Use your preferred baby-friendly oil, or try using an oil such as olive oil, coconut oil or almond oil.
Ensure you are in a warm and quiet room with no distractions.
Follow your little one's cues and stop the massage if they become upset or uncomfortable.
Sit in a comfortable position that gives you good eye contact with your baby.
You don't need to have your baby nappy-free, but it will help to loosen up their nappy when massaging their tummy.
Introducing a massage after a bath and before bed can be an excellent idea as part of a bedtime wind-down.
How to give your baby a Massage
Before you start your massage, 'ask their permission'. For example, if you say, 'Would you like a massage?' and use a visual signal, such as rubbing your hands, your little one will get used to this cue. Later they will be able to respond by smiling or moving their arms or pulling your hand towards them, and then they're ready. If they are restless and turn their head, they're not ready.
First, massage the crown of your baby's head very gently, then move on to the forehead, cheeks and ears.
Move down, massaging your baby's shoulders, arms and hands.
Throughout the massage, talk gently and softly to your baby, naming the parts of the body you are massaging.
Sing 'Round and round the garden like a teddy bear' as you make circular movements on the palms and soles of their feet.
Then do their tummy, singing, "There's a tiny caterpillar on a leaf",; walking your fingers across their belly and thighs to their ankles and toes, just like a little caterpillar crawling.
Now put them on their tummy and gently massage their back.
Mindfulness and Baby Massage
You can reap the soothing benefits of practising mindfulness by engaging in baby massage. Mindfulness is the practice of being in the moment; when practising mindfulness, you observe what is happening in the present moment, concentrating on your senses; it could be your breathing, something you taste, feel or hear.
Mindfulness can help improve your little one's ability to pay attention, calm down when upset, and make better decisions later.
Mindfulness has been linked to two core social-emotional skills: self-regulation and self-awareness. These critical skills teach children to recognise their thoughts, emotions and actions and react positively.
It helps you become aware of your mind, body, or surroundings.
Giving your little one a mindful massage will help you both to relax. Mindful massage will allow you to feel every touch, movement, and texture.
Each touch and sensation contributes to a calming atmosphere. At the same time, releasing Oxytocin, the love hormone, enhances the already heart-warming bond.
Is the combination of mindfulness and massage. Two great winding down, relaxing techniques all in one.
Describe movements and body parts: Gently massage your little one's body as you softly describe your actions to focus their attention on your touch.
Add a textured object: Describing their textures (as you roll them gently on their body) will enhance the sensory experience and support language development. So add various small balls of different textures and materials to your mindfulness tool kit, such as a spiky ball, tennis ball, koosh ball, etc., for your next mindful massage.
Add a simple story to your message: Concentrate on the weather and create gentle movements to represent some words. For example,
"Once upon a time, there was a big yellow sun (with one hand on their shoulder, take the other hand and make gentle circles clockwise and anticlockwise).
"Today is rainy, pitter-patter (pitter-patter movements with fingertips).
"Today is windy (sway your hands from side to side).
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