The benefits of massage are numerous. The following write-up provides some easy-to-understand infant massage techniques.
Giving your baby a massage is certainly a good way to bond with your baby. Moreover, this age-old technique in child care offers several health benefits. However, this may seem to be a daunting task for new mothers. But the fact is, once you familiarize yourself with infant massage techniques, the job becomes simpler with time and all the more effective for the baby.
How to Give Your Baby a Healthy Massage
First of all, remove any kind of jewelry that you may be wearing on your hands. Also, ensure that your hands are clean and not cold. Keep the required things like oil, towels, etc., close to you.
- To begin with, spread a mat on the floor and undress your baby. Place her on it with her face up.
- Begin with the legs. Wet your hands with a little oil and wrap them around the baby’s thighs. Massage with soft, gentle strokes. Give a gently squeeze occasionally. Repeat the same with the other leg. Remember not to grip the legs too tight.
- Gently extend and flex the baby’s legs. Rotate each foot in a clockwise and anti-clockwise direction. To repeat, be very gentle. Also, perform a stroking motion beginning from the top of the foot down to the ankles.
- Now you should work on the soles of the foot. Move the pads of your thumbs in a circular motion.
- Now take some oil and hold each toe between your thumb and forefinger. Gently pull the toes and let your fingers slip off the end.
- Massage the arms, just as you did for the legs. Once you are done, rotate the fist for a few times.
- Feel the softness of the baby’s palm and move your thumbs gently in a circular motion.
- Gently pull the fingers, and the thumbs too.
- Get some oil on your palm and rub it to make it warm. Now place your hands over the baby’s chest and flatten the palms.
- Stroke the chest with your palms going outwards. Remember not to apply too much pressure.
- Place your palm across the chest and move it gently down to the thighs. It is best if you use your hands alternatively.
- Roll your baby and place her on the tummy. Place all your fingertips on the back and move them in circular motions, on either side of the spine, all the way down to the buttocks.
- And the final step would be to give some long strokes, beginning from the shoulder to the feet.
Note that you must never give a massage before or right after a meal. Also, it is important to maintain eye contact with your little one. This way you would know if she is starting to feel uncomfortable. And when you are finally done, dress her and give a good cuddle and feed her.
- It helps in easing the tension in the baby’s muscles.
- Massage stimulates the release of hormones known as endorphins (which help in relaxing the body and mind).
- Using a natural vegetable or fruit-based oil to give a stomach massage helps in relieving constipation.
- Massaging on a regular basis is known to help premature babies gain weight.
- It helps the babies get enough sleep, and be active when they are awake.
- It helps in the overall development of bones and muscles.
One of the greatest advantages of massaging your infant on a regular basis, is that you are helping your baby getting aware of her/his sense of touch. Although the techniques may seem to be challenging initially, there is nothing to worry about. Go slow but steady.