By Pauline Nardella
RN, MPA, CCE, CIMI
Touch is the first form of non-verbal communication that a baby receives. A parent’s touch is essential for the normal growth and development of their child. One way parents can lovingly touch their babies is through massage. Research shows that nurturing touch, as in infant massage, has a positive effect on the emotional and physical bonds between infant and parent.
The benefits of infant massage to a baby and caregiver are many. Not only does it strengthen attachment and bonding but it also creates a loving, trusting, joyous relationship with your child that will last a lifetime. Infant massage helps to mature and regulate the circulatory, respiratory and gastrointestinal systems and promotes physical growth. Tender loving touch promotes relaxation, improves sleep and helps to relieve colic.
This is a very brief outline of an infant massage. It is recommended to take a class with a certified infant massage instructor. These classes are filled with so much wonderful information and parental support.
How to begin:
Massage should be done in a warm, quiet, dim lit and relaxed environment. Some parents choose to massage after the daily bath, others will massage at a specific time that is good for them and their infant. Begin by removing your jewelry. Take a few deep meditative breaths and release any tension to allow you to massage your baby with a relaxed energy and a loving heart.
Oil your palms and rub them together to warm them up. It is preferable to use an organic natural oil (apricot, grapeseed) rather than baby oil or lotion. Place your hands onto the baby’s chest for a brief moment (“resting hands”) and convey deep relaxation to your baby. Request permission from your baby for the massage. Most babies will let their caregiver know if they are ready for a massage or if the timing is not right.
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