A good massage not only gives health benefits but is a wonderful way of bonding with your child. Here we tell you about the types of massages and how a good massage can help your baby
By Kumudam Berkin
Massaging your baby is a wonderful way to calm him down and a good activity for spending quality time with the little one. Massaging also improves your bond with the baby. Even before babies begin to communicate, they respond to touch. The act of picking up a crying child and stroking the back is a soothing one and helps relieve stress. Massaging your baby is a natural exercise, which comes to you automatically. Here’s how --
Normally, you can give your baby a massage right after birth. It is,however, advisable to check with your doctor and start only after he gives the green signal. Most hospitals these days have group sessions for new mothers. These sessions are a good way to start and will also give you an opportunity to interact with other mothers.
It is not advisable to start massaging your baby right after a feed. This can make her vomit. You are the best judge of the timing of the massage. If you feel your baby is calm and in a good mood then she may enjoy a massage. This again calls for practice. As you try out different times, you will be able to estimate the best time for the activity.
Research shows there are many benefits associated with an oil massage for infants
1. It improves your interaction and bond with the baby
2. Your baby is more calm and relaxed
3. It helps in the development of strong bones and muscles.
It is up to the parents to decide on the frequency of a massage. Take a cue from the baby’s reaction and start by massaging once or twice a week. Thereafter, either increase or decrease the frequency depending on the baby’s reaction. Do make sure to use minimal pressure.
Before starting the massage, take permission from your little princess. Rub some oil between your hands and then ask again. Although this may seem odd, but your child is definitely picking up the vibes. There are various techniques that can be used. You can get started by using some simple techniques listed below:
Leg massage: This is the simplest and the safest massage to start for your baby. Gently massage your baby’s leg downwards from thigh to the ankle.
Belly massage: This will be really fun for your baby. Rub your hands gently over the tummy. You will see how much your baby enjoys this one.
Arm massage: Roll your baby’s arms gently between your hands moving downwards toward the wrist.
Give a gentle back rub by stroking his back on both sides. Then slowly move your hands up and down. A back rub often relaxes your baby.
It is safe to use oils that are not scented and are petroleum-based. The market is filled with various brands of baby massage oils. Common ones are almond oil and coconut oil. You could also ask your doctor for any particular brand that can be used.
In India, pure ghee is often used as massage oil during winter season and cold climates so that your baby does not catch a cold. Also mustard oil can be used in cold weather.
Touch is the only form of communication when your baby is born. Various research have shown that the bond between mother and child largely improves with touch. Massaging your baby will help you bond with your baby and also have an impact on their emotional well-being.
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