Pink Newborn Servicesblogs are going to be all about activities to keep you and your baby happy, relaxed, and healthy. Whether you already practice some of the ideas we talk about in the blogs, or they are brand new ideas to you, we hope that you will find them fun and helpful in creating a closer bond between you and your infant as well as you and other parents. Let’s dive right in! Today we are going to talk about infant massage and self-massage techniques you can use on yourself.
Infant massage offers many benefits to both you and your baby. Massage can encourage a baby’s weight gain, improve circulation, tone muscles, reduce stress, help digestion, ease gas discomfort, promote a restful sleep and even increase a baby’s brain development. If you have an infant that seems very sensitive to touch and becomes cranky easily, slowly introducing them to massage may help to reduce their sensitivities. Massage is also one of the best ways for parents to create a time of intimate bonding with their child. For working parents, giving your child a fifteen minute massage at the end of the day before bed creates one-on-one time for you and your baby while allowing both of you to relax and let the stress of the day melt away.
Around three months of age is suggested as the optimal time to begin a massage routine with your baby, though Dr. Harvey Karp stresses the importance of massage during your baby’s “fourth trimester” (birth to three months) in The Happiest Baby
on the Block. During the fourth trimester, baby’s need gentle stimulation that imitates that of the environment in the womb. Dr. Karp suggests that just as your baby was gently moved and massaged twenty four hours a day in the womb, they are greatly comforted by parents gently moving and massaging their small bodies once they are born. Tracy Hogg, The Baby Whisperer, reminds parents that they should not expect their baby to lie and accept a full fifteen minute massage during your first attempt. You
need to start slowly and watch your baby’s cues, stop when they seem uncomfortable or become irritable. Over time, they will become accustomed to, and welcome with excitement, their daily massage.
In Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby, Tracy Hogg provides a wonderful ten step process for giving your baby a massage. Below is a condensed version of this process.
- Make sure the environment is conducive – Have all your supplies ready including a towel, blanket, massage oil, and a soft place for your baby to lie. Make sure the room is warm enough that your baby will not be cold with their clothes off. You may have on soft music and dim lighting.
- Prepare for the experience – Make sure your mind is clear and you are completely present in the moment. Devote all your attention to your baby and the motion of your hands. Ask your baby if she is also ready for her massage. Place a small amount of oil in your hand.
- Ask your baby’s permission – before lying your hands on your baby, prepare her by asking if it is ok to start her massage. When you begin the massage, be sure to tell her what you are doing as you are doing it.
- Legs and feet first – On his feet use a thumb-over-thumb motion. Press in all over the bottom of the foot. Massage over the top of the foot and around the ankle. As you move you move up the leg, use a gentle “rope twist” motion. Slip your hands under your baby’s buttocks and massage gently, stroking all the way down to his feet.
- Stomach next – Place both hand on baby’s belly and make gentle sweeping motions outward. Use your thumbs to gently rub outward from their belly button. “Walk” your fingers from stomach to chest.
- Chest – Trace circles up and down on her chest. Using both hands, trace a heart from her breastbone, up to her shoulders, and down to her belly button.
- Arms and hands – Use the “rope twist” movement down his arms. Roll each finger. Make small circles on top of the hands.
- Face – Be extra gentle on her face. Massage her forehead and eyebrows and use your thumbs to gently sweep around her eyes. Move down the bridge of her nose, over her cheeks and back behind her ears. Massage the earlobes and chin then gently roll her over.
- Head and back – Use a circular motion to gently rub your baby’s head and shoulders. Make small circles along his back muscles. Gently run your hands from his head all the way down his back and legs to his ankles.
- End the massage – Tell your baby you are all done and, if the massage has been done just before bed, continue to use slow motions and gentle tones as you dress
them and prepare them for bed.
For more information on Infant Massage, follow the links below:
Getting Started with Infant Massage – http://www.youtube.com/watchv=h9NHFay9QQE&feature=relmfu
Massage Techniques to Relieve Gas – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKQr_Tc6Ko0
For classes and more information – http://www.infantmassageusa.org/?gclid=CMHSufHDtK0CFbEDtgodQj4iuQ
Massage is not only beneficial for your baby, you can benefit greatly from massage as well! Massage is one of the easiest ways to attain and maintain good health and well-being. The benefits of massage for adults are very similar to those of the benefits of massage for an infant. As adults however, our bodies tend to carry stress in more centralized areas such as our heads, necks, and lowers backs. Massage works wonders at alleviating the pains adults feel associated with stress and hard work.
As you massage your infant, you will undoubtedly feel a sense of relaxation and calm. Why not carry on that feeling after you put your baby to bed with your own massage? Since many new parents may not have time, or may not want to leave their baby, to
step out of the house to go to the spa for a massage, here are some techniques you can use to massage and relax yourself. Follow the links below for detailed instructions and video on how to self-massage:
A step-by-step guide to self-massage – http://www.livestrong.com/article/12454-do-selfmassage-/
Instructional guide with relaxing music – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAdGQSd6nFQ