Infant massage has many benefits for babies. But the benefits aren’t just physical. Massage can help both infant and parent relax. It also enhances parent-child bonding (between mom and baby, dad and baby, or both) by providing a context for positive, attentive interaction.
Since newborn babies can’t communicate in the traditional sense, infant massage supports parent-child communication by encouraging parents to read and respond to their baby's needs and feelings, as expressed through verbal and nonverbal cues.
Infant massage can also help ease your baby’s tummy troubles and teething pains, boost his muscle development, calm him when he’s fussy, and soothe him to sleep.
With a gentle touch, target the right body parts:
- Massage baby’s feet using soft, gentle strokes.
- Massage baby’s legs, working the shins and the thighs.
- Move to the arms, making sure to massage the baby's hands, too.
- For the baby's stomach, massage in a clockwise direction (the same way as the baby's digestive system moves).
- Massage the baby's chest, but avoid the delicate head and neck area.
- Flip baby over and massage his/her back.
When to Massage my Baby?
For most parents, only five minutes per diaper change is enough to encourage a healthy digestive system, ease symptoms of colic, and promote a quiet and restful evening.
Some of the best times to massage baby are:
- About 45 minutes after eating
- When baby is calm, alert, and awake
- Right before bed
- After a diaper change
How About You?
Have you tried giving an infant massage to your baby? What benefits did it have for you or your baby?