Feb 25, 2012

Baby Massage Cheat Sheet

There are so many things to learn and discover when you have a baby, and no matter how many baby books and birthing classes and parenting documentaries you watch, there’s nothing for it but experience and trial and error. Of course, there are certain tips and tricks you can use to make the journey smoother. One of these things is infant massage, something that will not only help soothe and calm your baby, but will also help turbo-charge the bonding process.

There are so many benefits to this loving and enjoyable activity that once you get the hang of it both you and your baby will come to look forward to it as a truly special experience. We’ve put together a cheat-sheet on everything you need to know about infant massage. Enjoy!

What is Infant Massage?

Babies get an incredible amount of their security and well being from being touched. As a newborn, one of their only survival instincts is to identify safety through touch and warmth. Infant massage is all about reassuring your baby through gentle touch, as well as stimulating his or her nervous system and encouraging blood-flow, flexibility and relaxation.

Think of it as a kind of mixture between a gentle therapeutic massage and yoga. Obviously you’re not going to be applying too much pressure at all, nor is your child going to be saluting the sun anytime soon, but it’s got the same principles of muscle relaxation and well-being.

How do I Do It?
Basically, there are two main elements to infant massage. Firstly, you want to create gentle, rhythmic strokes to lull your child into a peaceful state and relax his or her muscles. Secondly, you can very gently flex their ankles, toes, fingers and wrists in order to relieve tension and improve blood flow and flexibility.

Some non-irritating
baby massage oil can be a great accompaniment to infant massage, as it will make the whole process much smoother. Apply a small amount to your hands and rub them together to warm them up first. Starting from your baby’s chest and shoulders, work your way down the length of the body with gentle, even strokes. The rhythm will soothe your child almost instantly, and create good circulation to the extremities.

Tips and Tricks
A lot of parents find this is not only a great way to calm their baby, but to calm themselves as well! Every parent will know the peace that comes over you in those quiet moments with your baby (granted, many of us wish they would come around more often!) and this is a great time to be quiet and calm with your little one and let them feel the full force of all that love you have for them.

Playing gentle music or even a favourite meditation track such as running water or nature sounds can further enhance the serenity of the moment, and some parents have found that this can make for a longer, deeper sleep for their little one if practiced before bedtime.

If you’ve never tried infant massage, give it a go—we guarantee you’ll be back for more and your little one will simply love it!

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