We are sure you have a done a great job of massaging your newborn baby through these past six months. Your baby will be much more active now - wriggling, sitting up, crawling and trying to stand. It’s normal for an active baby to move around a lot, so you can be creative with the massage, working with any part of the body that is presented to you. It’s also a time to introduce more fun like songs, rhymes and games into your routine. You can also adapt your massage strokes to your baby’s developments.
No matter how you and your baby enjoy doing it, continue with the massage as it helps develop her self-confidence. Her ability to relate to others and strengthens her muscles to help him prepare to walk.
Here are a few techniques which may come in handy in making your massage sessions more effective:
Legs - Rolling
Leg rolling is a fun activity that increases body awareness. Once your baby shows that he enjoys the movement, you could introduce a song. Remember to slow the pace of your song down so that your baby can join in. With your hands, roll his leg from thigh to ankle. With longer legs, adapt this stroke, rolling from knee to ankle.
If your baby wants to sit upright, you can adapt your massage. Massaging in this position helps to prepare him for sitting unsupported and strengthens the back muscles. It can also be soothing as a calming bedtime routine. Swoop one hand after the other from neck to buttocks and down again. Your baby might want to play with a toy while you are massaging.
Gentle movements are a set of simple exercises which help to develop your baby’s co-ordination, aligns his spine and keeps your baby flexible.
Cross your baby’s arms at the chest three times, alternating which arm is over and under. Then gently stretch his arms out to the side. The rhythm is: cross-cross-cross-open. Repeat.
Finish with a kiss and a cuddle.
Through massage, you can gain increased awareness of how your baby communicates and ideas on ways to support your baby in their first few months.
As you spend this valuable ‘massage time’ with your baby, you and your baby will discover what is best for you both. Be mindful though that massage is something you do ‘with’, rather than do ‘to’ your baby.
These massage strokes are based on INFANT MASSAGE: A Handbook for Loving Parents by Vimala McClure, the founder of the IAIM.
Also read more about: How your baby’s bath time can actually help in her development?