Infant Massage Benefits the Whole Family
Infant massage is the most simple and effective ways for parents, family members and caregivers to promote wellbeing and bonding through touch. Infant massage is fun to do and it has been scientifically shown to improve the mental, emotional and physical wellbeing of both the baby and the person who is giving the massage.
Infant Massage Has Great Benefits For
- Colicky babies – abdominal strokes help the baby pass gas and feel better.
- Preterm babies – skin to skin contact as well as massage is very beneficial. A study showed that preemie babies who were massaged for 15 minutes, 3 times per day had on average a 47% greater weight gain, showed greater alertness and responsiveness, and were released on average 6 days earlier than the babies who weren’t massaged.
- Babies born addicted to drugs – with infant massage, cocaine addicted babies were better able to cope with their symptoms from drug addiction and they adapted more easily to the world around them.
- Adopted babies – massage helps improve bonding and trust, especially if the baby is older when adopted.
Infant Massage provides the following benefits:
Massage can help to relax tense muscles. Babies do experience muscle pain after birth, especially if the birth was difficult, or if their head was pulled during the birth process. Babies can fall asleep in non-optimal positions. Car seats can cause problems as well, especially if the babies sit for long periods of time and are left sleeping in the sitting position.
Babies just feel more comfortable in their bodies and they can relax more easily into sleep. think of how relaxed you feel after a massage - your baby will feel that way, too!
Many babies have digestive issues for their first few months. Gas produced from digestion and waste can be hard to eliminate. Massage strokes over the abdomen can help the baby to get the fecal matter moving, eliminate excess gas and improve bowel movements. Massage helps to improve the baby’s weight gain, which is especially beneficial for babies with a slower weight gain.
A baby’s brain is very active in the first year of life. Babies essentially move from not being able to hold up the weight of their own head, to learning how to walk in the first year of life. From year one to year two, the baby’s brain is even more active, as the baby learns how to move his body, how to speak at least one language, how to behave in society, and their connections between family and friends.
When parents massage their babies, they stimulate all of the baby’s skin and limbs. This in turn sends messages to the baby’s brain. The baby learns about his limbs, fingers, toes etc., and in turn sends messages down to move those same body parts.
Gentle pressure on the skin during massage stimulates the baby’s skin and muscles (sensory input). The arm and leg movement exercises at the end of the massage help to stimulate joint movement and provides position information to the brain as well (proprioception). The brain receives all of this stimulation and processes it. The more the brain is stimulated, the more the baby learns about his own body.
As the baby becomes aware of his environment, his sensory organs (eyes, ears, tongue, skin, etc.) send messages to the brain. The brain then interprets these messages and sends instructions down to the body as to how to deal with the environment. For example, if a one-year-old sees his favorite toy in the corner of the room, his brain gets the message from his eyes where the toy is. The brain then sends messages to the baby’s muscles and limbs to crawl or walk over to pick up the toy. The more the brain is stimulated, the more connections (or synapses) between areas of the brain are established, and the brain becomes more efficient at processing information sent to it by the senses.
Massage over the chest area helps the baby to clear mucus in his lungs. It also helps him to breathe more deeply.
Infant massage allows the parent and child to spend time together. The person giving the massage can play games, laugh, sing and talk to the baby. The baby receives a warm loving touch that helps him to relax and learn all about the parent in front of him. It becomes an exchange of love and mutual admiration, the more you massage your baby, the more opportunity you have to strengthen your relationship.
The bottom line, is that infant massage is good for your baby and good for you!!! If you can, I strongly encourage you to massage your baby on a daily basis. Pick a time of day when your baby is happy and start.
You Can Easily Learn How to Massage Your Baby
We are offering an infant massage video for free! This is my gift to you – I had a wonderful friend of my mother’s show me how to massage my son, and I have massaged all three of my children almost every day for their first year. I would love to help you to do the same.
Click here to receive my infant massage video. I have included information about the individual strokes, a video on what you need to know before you get started and a second video that shows the infant massage strokes. I hope you love it as much as I did!
For more information about the benefits of infant massage, check out Infant Massage by Vimala Schneider McClure. Infant massage is a very well written, thoughtful book that lists so many reasons to massage your baby.
If you purchase this book through this link, a small percentage of the sale (at no cost to you) will go towards the upkeep of this website. Thank you in advance!