What are the benefits of baby massage?
There are so many benefits of baby massage, and lots of parents tell us almost daily that it's an important part of their daily routine. We also get lots of new parents telling us they have no idea where to start, or even if it's something they should try. Here are just a few of the benefits you might experience if you give it a go.
Massage can help baby sleep better
Studies have found that babies who have a 15 minute massage either before or after their bath are more able to fall asleep – and stay asleep!- at bedtime. its thought that massage helps to settle your baby's circadian rhythm, promoting better nighttime sleep whilst also relaxing and soothing.
Massage strengthens the bond between parent & child
Baby massage provides a really lovely opportunity for you and your child to spend quality time together and helps to strengthen the bond between you. Baby massage helps to strengthen trust and communication between you too, and because its such a gentle and loving process, your baby will come away feeling calm, relaxed and cared for.
Massage helps to improve digestion
Gentle massage has been shown to help aid digestion and can help if your baby is suffering with constipation or wind. There are different techniques you can try to help sooth small tummies and settle any upset.
Massage can help to ease symptoms of teething
Some parents find that baby massage has the power to ease symptoms of teething. Gently massaging your baby's face can have an amazing effect on sore gums-, there are some facial massage techniques you can try if your baby is suffering with partially painful teething episode.
Tips for massaging your baby
If you can get to a local baby massage class then great, but if not don’t worry. There are lots of really good videos and websites out there- have a quick google and spend some time reading up on the basics. And when you’re ready, hopefully these tips will help you.
Prepare for the massage
The last thing you want when you’re trying to give your baby a relaxing massage is to have to keep disrupting it all because you’ve forgotten something! Much like when you give your baby a bath, it’s a good idea to have everything you need within reach and ready to go. Grab a warm towel and a changing mat with liner to lay your baby on. You’ll also need some organic massage oil and some clothes to dress your baby in when you’re finished.
If you use a Cuddledry handsfree towel you can lift your baby for a warm cuddle as soon as the massage is finished. This will help prevent your baby from getting too cold, and will help to maintain the calm atmosphere you’ve worked so hard to create.
Pick a suitable time
The best time for baby massage is when your baby is awake and alert, and not hungry or tired. After bathtime is usually ideal.
Keep massage time short
Your baby might need a little time to get used to massage as part of the bedtime routine, so take things slowly. Just as you would during bath time, maintain eye contact and watch for cues that might signal your time is up. Some babies will only tolerate a massage for a few minutes, and others will be happy there for much longer.
Follow your baby’s cues
Allow your baby to lead the way and always bring things to an end if she lets you know enough is enough.
The idea is to make massage an enjoyable activity to help strengthen the baby/ parent bond, so don’t force it.
How to massage your baby
Baby massage is a wonderful sensory experience for both baby and parent, so keep this in mind when you start. Keep all your movements slow and gentle, and allow your baby to full relax and enjoy the experience. Read on for more tips on how to make the most of your massage session.
Use a safe and comfortable place
Make sure that baby cannot roll off or hurt themselves, and that the room is warm and comfortable.
Remove jewellery and wash your hands
The last thing you want to do is catch baby's delicate skin with a ring or another piece of jewellery, so its always a good idea to take it all off and to wash your hands before you start.
Use a baby friendly massage oil
A massage oil is essential- just make sure that your baby is ok with the ingredients, an go for as natural a blend as you can find. There are specific baby massage oils that you can buy, so look for those.
Follow guided massage techniques
A quick google search will bring up several easy techniques that you can follow. Try one or two to start with, and you'll soon be up and running!
Join a baby massage group
Have a google, or ask your health visitor if there are any local baby massage groups near you. This is a great way to meet other parents and to learn more tips and techniques to get the most out of your baby massage sessions.