As goes the saying, it’s never too late to start massage, it also goes to say, it’s never too EARLY to start either. Expectant parents want the best for their babies, and starting massage from the beginning is a very old practice that has been modernized by evidence-based research.
What Are The Benefits of Infant Massage?
Infant massage is one of many bonding opportunities between parents and their children, and an opportunity for your infant to experience touch sensations that are part of growth. Being touched and caressed for a baby is a crucial part of healthy brain development. It’s also a vital method in supporting muscle development-they spend a lot of time moving those brand new body parts of theirs, and the feeling of massage, kneading, and warmth, soothes those sore muscles. There’s more than infant development involved in Infant Massage; there are the many benefits that are available for parents and primary caregivers as well. The massage will help a parent bond with their child, give them confidence in caring for the child, provide on-on-one play time with child, and encourage pre-verbal communication to better understand the child’s unique rhythms and patterns.
Where Do I Begin?
It’s important to communicate to the child what’s going on, even if they don’t know what you’re saying yet. Use massage as part of the nightly ritual, after bath time, lay your child down in a warm room, and use essential oils to lighten their senses. Tell your child what you are doing “I’m going to massage your arms now, “I’m going to take that tension away from your neck” , “It’s time to massage your legs! I’m going to work my way up to your belly, is that alright?” Talking to your child may seem silly at first, but letting them know you respect this body of theirs will also help build that strong trust bond. Smile at your baby and keep eye contact with them as much as possible. Massage with gentle but firm strokes that are slow, long, and rhythmic. You can start massaging daily if you desire as soon as you ready (and so long as your baby is healthy). Make the experience a relaxing one for the child, and you’ll find how relaxing the process will be for you too!
What If I Hurt Him/Her?
If you use gentle, yet firm strokes, you should be safe, but it may be a good idea to bring your baby in with you for your next massage session (have someone with you to take the baby while you are in session), to have one of our therapists show you a few gentle applications you can use on your child. We will also share our favorite essential oils that we recommend to getting you started on your massage sessions with your child. Schedule your next session, and we’ll do the rest!