Let your Baby Feel Your Magic With These Cardinal Rules of Baby Massage
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.
Why should you do baby massage?
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
How should you massage your baby?
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.
Don’ts for baby massage, be it you or the maalishwali!
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.
1. Cooke, Alison. Infant massage: The practice and evidence-base to support it. Vol.2015:23:3. Accessed on 8 September,2016
2. Sheidaei, A. The effectiveness of massage therapy in the treatment of infantile colic symptoms: A randomized controlled trial Vol.2016:30:351. Accessed on 8 September,2016
3. Field, T. et al. Preterm Infant Massage Therapy Research: A Review.Vol.2010:33:2. Accessed on 8 September,2016
4. Gurol, A et al. The Effects of Baby Massage on Attachment between Mother and their Infants. Vol.2012:6:1. Accessed on 9 September,2016
5. Cheng, C.D et al. Supporting Fathering Through Infant Massage. Vol.2011:20:4. Accessed on 9 September,2016
6. International Association of Infant massage. Advantages of the IAIM Infant Massage Program. http://www.iaim.net/benefits/.... on 9 September,2016
7. Saijo, S. et al. Dry skin of newborn infants: functional analysis of the stratum corneum. Vol 1991:8:2. Accessed 9 September, 2016.
8. Field, T. Massage therapy Vol 2002:86:1. Accessed 9 September, 2016.
9. Darmstadt GL, et al. Impact of topical oils on the skin barrier: possible implications for neonatal health in developing countries. Vol 2002:91:5. Accessed 9 September,2016
10. Field,T. et al. Mothers massaging their newborns with lotion versus no lotion enhances mothers' and newborns' sleep. Vol 2016:45. Accessed 9 September,2016
11. Mathai S, et al. Effects of tactile-kinesthetic stimulation in preterms: a controlled trial. Vol:2001:38:8. Accessed 9 September,2016.
Explore the entire collection of articles: Baby's Health
If you are reading this article on our website and have an Android phone, please download our APP here for a more personalized experience based on your lifestage.
Read More On Baby