A baby massage is not difficult, and this special moment will allow you to establish real communication between you and him. Follow our guide for a good baby massage.
1. What are the benefits of a baby massage?
A baby massage offers a great opportunity for babies to better discover their mum or dad and vice versa. Thanks to the contact of their skin, the looks and smiles they exchange, the sound of the voice of the masseur parent, each tames the other. Beyond these emotional moments, the child learns the limits of his own body, which he is unaware of during his first months. Depending on the gestures delivered, the massage can also help soothe minor disorders suffered by the baby: colic, constipation, sleep disorders, muscle tension, and teething. Below the benefits of baby massage in detail;
- A baby massage is a good way to bond with baby. This is because physical contact stimulates the production of oxytocin, a hormone linked to the attachment.
- Massages have a positive effect on baby sleep. Thanks to massages, the baby learns to relax, and his sleep gradually becomes longer. His body also makes more of the sleep hormone melatonin after a massage. This improves the baby's sleep-wake cycle.
- As the massages are very relaxing, children who receive a massage would be less stressed.
- The massages promote weight gain in the newborn and contribute to good digestion. They would also relieve gas.
- Massages promote communication with the baby because it requires more listening to his non-verbal signals.
- They stimulate the child's blood circulation, which helps transport oxygen and maintain their body temperature.
2. The right time for a baby massage
There is not an exact age for massaging babies. You just have to choose the right time (after a bath, for example, never before or after a meal) and not exceed 10/15 minutes, at the risk of tiring him.
Pay attention to your kid's reactions and adapt your actions accordingly. Be aware that during the first massage sessions, the baby may be grumpy, or even cry during the massage. Don't give up; it may just be that the baby needs more time to get used to this special gesture. The solution; start with very short massage sessions, which you can gradually lengthen, depending on the reactions of your little one.
Also note: in some cases, there may be medical contraindications to baby massage, do not hesitate to discuss this with your pediatrician.
3. Where and how to perform a baby massage
You should perform massage in a warm (around 26 ° C) and a quiet room. Performed before a nap or bedtime, it can release excitement and promote sleep. After a bath is also a perfect time, and avoid massaging after the bottle or the meal.
You should find a comfortable position for you and your baby. For this, you have several solutions:
- Sit on the bed, with your flexible and straight back. Place the baby in front of you, on a blanket or pillow, as close as possible to you, this will reassure him.
- You can also sit with your legs extended, and place your baby in the hollow between your legs, on a blanket or pillow.
- The baby can even be lying on the changing table
- Before you start, remove your jewelry, wash your hands, and above all, relax; this is an essential element for the baby massage to be beneficial. Coat your hands with milk or baby oil and rub them for a few moments to warm them.
4. What are the techniques for a baby massage?
Massage is different from caresses; the contact must be warm, soft, but firm, made with stimulating and reassuring pressures for the baby.
One hand should always stay in contact with it.
At first, pay attention to his skull, which remains fragile for several months.
Start with the extremities of the body; massaging the trunk first could make it nervous. If he's not used to it, go gradually, massaging only the legs, for example.
4.1 Baby massage: baby's leg
Massage each leg with the palm of the hand, between the thumb and forefinger, thumb down, making the two hands succeed from the groin to the ankle. This relieves tension from the legs and promotes blood flow to the feet.
Then lift one leg towards you, and be careful not to the baby's pelvis, and wrap it with both hands, as if to form a bracelet. Make a slight "screwing-unscrewing" movement to relax the entire muscle.
You can roll the leg between your hands.
4.2 Baby massage: Baby's foot
Foot massage is beneficial for the whole body, as it is extremely rich in nerve endings.
Slide one inch at a time on the ball of the foot, from heel to toes, then massage each toe. Gently massage the heel, then the whole sole with both thumbs. Don't forget the top of the foot and the ankles.
After finishing both legs and feet, massage the buttocks with small circular movements.
4.3 Baby massage: Baby’s belly
Place your hands on the baby's stomach for a moment, then massage, bringing one hand at a time towards you. Then slide your hands flat on either side of your stomach. With the flat of your fingers, massage in a clockwise direction forming a circle.
Belly massage is good for the digestive system, helps regulate transit and relieve gas and constipation.
5. Baby massage: Baby's back
Back massage is often the most relaxing part of the baby massage. Place it face down on your thighs, or on the changing table, then place your hands across your upper back.
Go and come perpendicular to the back's axis, one hand after the other, towards the buttocks, then go up towards the shoulders. One hand resting on the baby's bottom, then slide the other hand from the shoulders to the bottom. Finally, describe small circles with the fingertips over the entire surface of the back, then, with the fingers slightly apart, "paint" the back of the shoulders to the buttocks.
6. Baby massage: Baby's arm
Take the wrist with one hand and, with the other, massage the arm from shoulder to wrist, with the flat of the palm. Stabilize the shoulder, so you do not lift the baby. As for the legs, then perform a slight "screwing-unscrewing" movement, both hands still close together so as not to bend the elbow.
7. Baby massage: precautions to take before getting started
- Be careful not to “over-stimulate” the baby with quick movements and massages that are too long.
- Do not hesitate to call a pediatrician or reflexology professional.
- Let baby massage workshops tempt yourself. In a few sessions, you learn the right gestures to perform and to decipher the messages your baby sends you through his attitude, depending on what you do to him.
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Originally published on Live Positively.