The first year of life is extremely important in terms of the baby's psychological development. It is the time when they gain basic trust from their caregiver. The sense of touch is very important for babies in infanthood for perception of the environment.
Massage is one of the easiest and most natural ways of establishing a sense of touch and eye contact which nurtures the mother-child bond.
Baby Massage is said to have psychosocial and physiological benefits.
o Bonding with the baby
o Enhanced communication with the baby - ability to read infant cues
o Development of trust and confidence with the caregiver
o Increased acceptance
o Reduces stress and helps both the caregiver and baby relax
o Improved body awareness
o Strengthened digestive system
o Reduced discomfort during teething and congestion
o Improved muscle tone
o Improved sleep pattern
o Enhanced hormonal function
Create a calm environment for your baby before massaging. Be in a comfortable position to hold your baby well so that he/she feels safe and relaxed. You can massage your baby thrice a day for 15 minutes each. The whole body of the baby should be included in the massage technique and a moderate pressure is recommended for optimal effect.
You can use oils designed for babies that help improve skin barrier function, skin texture and which make the baby’s skin soft and supple. You can also massage your baby using baby lotion. Massage should not be carried out within an hour of feeding, to minimize the risk of vomiting.
Alternately, you can massage your baby in these 3 phases:-
1. First phase: Place your baby in secure position and massage 12 strokes from head through the neck and shoulder to the buttock for 5 seconds. This is when the baby is placed on the stomach (Prone position)
2. Second phase: Place your baby flat on his/her back and massage 12 strokes, from the face, through the cheeks, chest, abdomen, upper limbs, lower limbs, palms, then down to the soles of the feet for 5 seconds,
3. Third phase: Give soothing massage to baby’s limbs and hands to complete the process.
Calling maalishwali or Masseuses, has become a common ritual in India. It is safe to hire masseuses, provided they are experienced and qualified to do the needful. Massage therapy is licensed in India so you can call a maalishwaali from a good reputed agency. Many maalishwalis use techniques that are unsafe for kids.
1. Never use soft surface like a bed or couch for massaging. Use a firm surface like table or floor.
2. It is not recommended to use hot oil or lotion. Warm the oil in your hands and let it come to skin temperature.
3. Do not apply pressure while massaging. Apply very little pressure by giving slow and gentle strokes.
4. Pediatricians are against the act of putting oil drops in your baby’s ears as it can affect their eardrums leading to complications like soreness, pain, itchiness and also loss of hearing. It is said that oil by itself can cause infection.
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