Everyone enjoys a good massage, even babies.
By Rachel Goodchild
If we, as adults, find massages relaxing and beneficial, then we should also be looking at the benefits of giving a baby a massage.
When you massage a baby, you will find it is a two-way exercise; you the parent and the baby both enjoying the time together.
If for any reason either of you are not enjoying it, then you should consider whether you are performing it correctly or if it is time to stop.
While massaging your baby, this is a time when you get to know each other. Your baby will feel the love you are giving him/her, and in the process, feel safe and relaxed with you.
It is a way you can use to communicate with your child, to let the baby knows how loved and safe he/she is.
Massage in babies, as well as adults, will cause different parts of the body to react. It can help improve both the body’s blood circulation and immune system.
Once you have decided that your baby will enjoy a massage, you need to then decide when the best time to do is.
Normally, wait at least 20 minutes after a feed, and not too close to bed time. Try never to give a massage when your baby is upset, as that can make him/her feel worse.
Again, your baby is unique but it might be best for both of you to do it after you have given baby a bath.
The child is already undressed and the pores will be open from the heat of the water, allowing the oil to be absorbed by the skin.
Always ensure the room is warm and there are no draughts around. And make sure your hands are warm. This is something fundamental that many may forget. There is nothing worse than cold hands going on a warm body.
Try and make sure you are not likely to be disturbed. Have some quiet music in the background, and remove all your jewellery because you don’t want anything that might hurt the baby.
Don’t forget the towels; you are going to be using oils, and they could stain the surface of where you lay your baby.
When you look for suitable oils, make sure they can be used on babies. Baby oil is perfect, but there are some designed for baby massages.
If you have never given a massage before, check out some books on the subject and look at pictures to see what you should be doing.
But most would advise starting with the baby’s feet and working upwards on to the body.
Always massage slowly and gently. Don’t put a lot of pressure as you don’t want to injure the child in any way. After all, you want this to be a pleasant experience for both of you.
As you get to know your baby and how much she/he enjoys having a massage, you can then determine how often you need to repeat the process.
The art of parenting
Tuesday, March 25, 2008