Today was Caleb’s third visit to Baby Massage – you can see from the photo that he LOVED it! He goes once a week with his mummy or daddy. This is what his mummy had to say about it.
“It’s once a week and today was our third time. He loved it! We do full body massages in a circle singing nursery rhymes to them and counting their fingers and toes as we massage them. It’s really fun.”
I wish this had been around when I had my babies (very many years ago!) My first baby was NOT an easy baby – probably because I was so stressed and unsure of what I was doing. My family and close friends were 4,000 miles away. There was no internet and phone calls were mega expensive. I had a new baby who slept for only 3 hours at a time – for the first 3 months. My son also had colic. As a result of this I was an anxious, sleep deprived wreck! I think that baby massage could have really helped both of us be more relaxed, might have made me feel more in control and I might not have started going grey quite so early!
So What is Baby Massage?
Baby massage has been used around the world for thousands of years. Although it’s not as common in the western world, it is becoming more recognised and practiced here, with many studies being completed on the benefits of baby massage both for the baby and the parent. Baby massage is gentle, rhythmic stroking of your baby’s body with your hands. The use of oils or creams can help make massage a sensory experience and make it easier to gently manipulate baby’s limbs, joints, fingers and toes. Gentle singing, humming or talking – while doing the massage – can also help to make a lovely, bonding experience for both parent and baby.
What Are the Benefits?
Massage is a great bonding experience for baby and parent
- The gentle movements stimulate the production of the feel-good hormone oxytocin in you and your baby (and even your partner – if they’re watching).
- Research has shown that massage can have other benefits for baby, it can;
- improve weight gain
- aid digestion
- improve circulation
- ease teething pain
- help baby to develop physically, mentally and socially
- help baby stay relaxed and fuss and cry less
- improve sleep patterns
Baby massage can also have benefits for parents – it can help you feel more empowered because you can ease baby when upset or uncomfortable. Massage can be a really bonding time, with lots of touch, eye-contact and talking and can ease parent’s moods too!
For this reason massage can also be a great help for mums withpostanatal depression. Baby massage can also be a great help for some dads who feel that they miss out on a lot of the care of their babies, especially if baby is breastfed and dad is at work for long periods of the day.
Caleb’s dad loves to do massage with Caleb at home, he says “Toni has shown me what to do. I love it – he’s always so smiley and relaxed and it’s like he just stares at me and listens to every word.”
So When Is the Best Time for Massage?
Generally, massage is best done when baby is relaxed and also between feeds – so that they aren’t hungry, or too full (we don’t want to be putting any pressure on a tummy full of milk!). Caleb’s mum says she has noticed that, if he has a massage after his bath and before bed, he is less inclined to cry when settled down for the night and he generally sleeps longer (TA DA!)
How Can I Find Out More?
Courses of Baby Massage are run throughout the UK. During the sessions parents learn these movements and at the end of the classes parents have enough knowledge to be able to carry on the massage at home – for as long as baby enjoys it. Courses are appropriate for parents of babies aged between 6 weeks to 6 months. it is a fantastic time for you to spend with your baby or babies and really focus on them – and get the confidence to do massage at home. The National Childbirth Trust has a great site with lots of information on this.
If you are unable to attend a course, there are also videos to watch online. I like the Mother & Baby TV video. It has lots of tips, advice and is easy to follow – it’s also very short.
I don’t know about you, but I love having a massage. I find it soothing, healing and relaxing – if it works for us, why wouldn’t it have great benefits for baby? I really hope you try this out, and have a great soothing, bonding, relaxing time with your baby.