There are several benefits associated with baby massage besides being a great way for you to bond with your baby. Most parents use baby massage as a bedtime routine to relax and soothe the baby to sleep.
Other benefits associated with baby massage include:
- Helping with mental, physical, and social development
- Keeps the baby relaxed
- Soothes a crying and fussy baby
- Helps promote weight gain
- Soothes signs of colic and constipation
- Aid in jaundice recovery
Besides the benefits to the baby, it is also beneficial to the mother in the following ways
- Facilitates the production of oxytocin during the massage thus easing postnatal depression
- Boosts the bond with mother and baby
- Promote the release of oxytocin, which helps to breastfeeding as you feel more relaxed
How to massage your baby
1. Choose the right time
When engaging in baby massage, ensure that your baby is alert and fed to ensure that they are not distracted by other feelings. The perfect time for a baby massage should be after a bath in the evening, which keeps the baby feel relaxed and ready for bed.
2. Set a relaxing atmosphere
The room must be comfortable and relaxing with no light burning in the baby’s eyes. While sitting on your bed, towel your baby opposite you to allow for more eye contact. Make sure that the room is warm enough to keep the baby without clothes. You can choose to keep the nappy but should be loosened when massaging the tummy area.
3. Choose the right massage oil
Choose massage oil that works for your baby’s skin. Babies have extremely sensitive skin and what works for your skin might react with your babies. Some recommendations to consider include natural and organic baby massage oils.
4. Get started
Start by warming some massage oil by rubbing it in your palms then rubbing your hands on the baby’s skin starting with the legs. Gently squeeze and twist your hands while rubbing the skin as you work your way towards the upper thighs.
Cradle your baby’s feet in your hands and gently rub the sole using your thumbs one after the other. Keeping holding the foot in one hand and supporting the other with the other hand. Slowly bend the legs towards the chest and repeat this several times. You can also do this with both legs at the same time.
Breastfeeding significantly reduces the chances of the baby suffering from colic. However, if they do have colic, trapped wind, or constipation, massaging their tummy will provide the much-needed relief. To massage the tummy, place your hand on the center of the tummy and rub them in a clockwise direction to encourage any trapped air to move by flowing through the direction of the intestines.
You can consult a local children’s center for more tips on how to safely massage your baby. Alternatively, ask your doctor to demonstrate the right way to do a baby massage.