All of us love a good massage and so do our little ones. Massage is the perfect way to express your love and to soothe your baby. It has many added advantages in terms of the health of your baby – physical as well as emotional.
Other than helping your little ones to stay fit, massage has many added benefits including improving weight gain, aiding digestion, improving circulation, and easing teething pain. Massage is a great way for you to bond with your baby, and you may find it relaxing, too.
What is Baby Massage?
Massaging is gently and rhythmically stroking your baby’s body with your hands. You can use oil or a moisturizer for the same so as to facilitate smooth gliding of your hands over your baby’s skin. A lesser-known fact is that you can gently manipulate and shape your baby’s ankles, wrists, fingers and even certain facial features. Talking or humming softly while giving your baby a massage can make them more comfortable.
Massage or more specifically, the soothing strokes of your hands promote the release of a feel-good hormone called oxytocin in your baby and even you (or any onlooker for that matter). Oxytocin is that hormone which produces a feeling of warmth and love within a person.
Benefits of Baby massage
There are several benefits of massaging your baby, but here are a few of them:
· Helps your baby in physical, mental as well as social development.
· Babies who are given a regular massage stay more relaxed and do not get upset frequently.
· Babies receiving massages cry and fuss less.
· Better sleep and diet patterns.
· Massage also helps to keep diseases at an arm’s length.
· Helps parents to reduce stress.
· Helps premature babies to gain weight, particularly if oils are used. Massage stimulates a key nerve, called the vagus nerve, this nerve can improve digestion and bowel movement.
· Massage helps your baby to develop a steady heart rate and also improves their breathing pattern.
· Babies who are massaged regularly also develop stable brain activity than the ones who are not.
Best time to massage your baby
The best time to massage your baby is between meals and just a little before nap time. This will ensure that your baby isn’t too hungry or too full. Giving your little one a massage just before nap time will help them connect better with you and also facilitate interaction. If your baby has not yet developed a sleeping and eating pattern yet, then you can choose any time that your baby and you find comfortable.
Establishing a bedtime routine is advisable as this will calm your baby and help them to wind into a peaceful sleep. Believe it or not, but it will also have a soothing effect on you and your partner.
How to massage your baby
Most parents chose between a moisturizer and an oil to massage their little ones. Oil is advisable since its benefits far outweigh those of a normal moisturizer. Pour a generous amount of oil into your palms and massage it on all parts of your baby’s body in circular motions, and do this for about fifteen to twenty minutes.