Why you should start massaging your baby now
Are you a mother who massages her baby? If your answer is NO, it is never too late to start doing so because massaging babies gives an array of benefits to both you and your baby.
Key benefits of baby massage
Before you start this exercise, first consult with your paediatrician for advice and best practices.
Massaging stimulates your baby’s body systems and improves their functioning. Some of your baby’s body systems that can be stimulated by massage include movement, growth, the release of growth hormones in the body, just to name but a few. This means that your baby will be able to walk early enough with much ease as well as growing up a strong and healthy kid.
Ultimately, baby massage helps the digestive system and aids with the ideal weight gain or loss. For example, abdominal strokes help to move the digested food through the small intestines swiftly. Abdominal strokes also decrease the production of ‘stress hormones’ cortisol levels in babies allowing the digestive functions to return to normally.assages initiates proper breathing of the baby. Massage over the chest area helps the baby clear mucus in his/her lungs.
Massages initiate proper breathing of the baby. A massage over the chest area helps the baby clear mucus in its lungs. This will in turn help the baby breathe deeply.
Lastly, general body relaxation is achieved. During massages, the body releases ‘feel good hormones’ (serotonin). The hormones promote deep sleep. When infants cry, their muscles are tense therefore massage can help the baby learn to relax those tense muscles. This is according to www.babymassage.net.au, a website recognised by the Australian Association of Massage Therapist (AAMT).
Benefits to the giver/mother
A baby massage is such an important exercise because it does not only benefit the child but also the mother.
A recent research done on mothers who had postnatal depression shows that an infant/mother interaction can help reduce or entirely stop postnatal depression. One of the best infant/mother interactions can be brought by the baby’s body massage sessions.
As Dr Marshall Klaus, a paediatrician and Neonatalogist based in California, puts it, massages also promote Interaction-bonding. when a mother is the giver of the massage, she will also nurture and initiate a good baby-mother relationship. It is through this relationship that the mother will learn to listen and understand her baby.
When a mother is the giver of the massage, she will also nurture and initiate a good baby-mother relationship. It is through this relationship that the mother will learn to listen and understand her baby.
How to actually do the massage: (PREPARATION)
- Baby massage should be done when the baby is in a calm and relaxed state.
- Warm room, Soft lighting avoid direct light on baby’s face
- Have extra clothes, diapers and oil nearby. Your baby, if full grown, may need his toy to keep him busy….
- Prepare a soft surface such as a soft duvet or a mat.
- Avoid having TV or radio on this may distract, remove your jewellery too
- Sit in a comfortable position; you can sit anywhere as long as you and your baby are comfortable.
- Position yourself so that you can make and maintain eye contact
- Take a few deep breathe and relax- this is absolutely important…Focus on your baby only.
- Show your hands to the baby and ASK FOR PERMISSION (if the baby is willing or ready for massage); if he seems happy to continue, undress your baby partially or completely.
- Oil your hands as you swish the oil between your hands show it to the baby as you tell her your intention. This routine must always be repeated so that the baby gets to know what this means.
The actual massaging process
Start your baby’s massage with her feet and work your way up the body finishing with her head. Legs are a good place to start a massage because your baby is used to having her legs touched during nappy changes
Then try to follow a routine pattern. Your baby will appreciate a routine. She’ll find it comforting to know what’s coming next.
Reading your baby’s cues is the most important aspect of massage. Your baby will tell you when the massage needs to end and which strokes she likes or dislikes. If your baby starts to cry during the massage, she is telling you that she has had enough.
What you should not do when doing a massage
Never massage the babies against their will
You should not use the deep muscle massage techniques that are applicable to adults. In infant’s massage is done on the surface, with very little pressure and slow, gentle strokes.
You do not insist on massaging a baby who doesn’t seem to enjoy it. Some of the signs that will tell you the baby is not enjoying or ready for the massage, therefore, time to stop include; stiffening; holding his or her breath; crankiness or irritability; crying, or looking away from you.
You should not massage your baby when he/she is not already relaxed and alert.
You should not massage your baby just before or after a meal, or when she needs a nap.
The 2017 JOHNSONS AND BABY MASSAGE FESTIVAL will be held this Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th of March at the Sarit Expo Center
note; the event is purely educational and our hope is to touch in the future of Kenya by giving back in our small own way.
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