Studies show that baby massage has a number of physical and psychological effects on the newborn. The intensive bonding with the parents in babyhood has a positive influence on the child’s development and body awareness. In this article, you will learn about the benefits of baby massage and how to properly massage your baby.
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Baby Massage – Touch With Respect
“Being touched, caressed, and massaged is food for the child. Food that is as important as minerals, vitamins, and proteins.” – that’s how the French gynecologist and founder of “gentle birth,” Frédérick Leboyer, once put it. He made the baby massage, which originated in Indian Ayurveda, known in Europe in the early 1980s.
When a baby comes into the world, everything is strange and unfamiliar at first. The weightlessness of the womb is a thing of the past. In addition, there are new sounds, smells, and faces. Through the tender touches, the newborn is very close to the mother again, enjoying the warmth, security, and safety. Baby massage not only satisfies the primal need of every human being for support and gentle touch. Studies show that this method has a whole range of physical and psychological effects on the newborn.
The intensive bonding with the parents in babyhood has a positive influence on the child’s development and body awareness. Baby massage can help with colic and flatulence. It also stimulates blood circulation, the newborn is less restless, sleeps better, and feels that its needs are being taken care of. Both the child and the parents find it easier to rest and relax with the help of baby massage. You can start baby massage as early as the sixth week of life. However, the navel should be well healed, otherwise, there is a risk of infection.
The External Circumstances Must Fit
The massaging parent should be relaxed and rested because Children sense inner restlessness. In addition, the time of the massage should be chosen so that the baby is neither hungry nor tired, perhaps about an hour before bedtime. The duration of a massage depends on how long the baby enjoys it. Start with a maximum of ten minutes, from time to time the duration can be increased up to 20 minutes.
Since the baby is naked, the room temperature should be between 23 and 25 degrees. All-natural, pure oils (such as jojoba, calendula, coconut, or almond oil) are suitable for the massage. However, it should not be perfumed to avoid skin irritation and the development of allergies. Warm the oil and hands beforehand. As a base for the baby, you can use the changing pad with a pre-warmed towel.
How To Massage
Below, we tell them how to help your baby to a real benefit. Properly applied, your baby will quickly tell you how much he likes it.
– The head: Start the massage by stroking the face. Glide slowly and evenly with your hands from the nose over the cheeks. Then stroke with both hands from the forehead over the temples.
– Supine position: alternately stroke with one hand from the shoulder over the chest and abdomen to the opposite leg (left shoulder, right leg, and vice versa). In this way, alternate stroking the entire body with both hands in a crisscross pattern. Massage the chest from the inside out, the abdomen in a clockwise direction.
– Prone position: First, slowly stroke with both hands crosswise along the entire back. Then, starting at the nape of the neck, stroke across the entire back and down the legs to the feet.
– Arms and legs: The baby lies on its back. With one hand, grasp a thigh or upper arm. Then slowly pull the hand up to the foot or hand. Before releasing the leg/arm, the other hand already grips the thigh/upper arm again. Alternately, both hands pull over the baby’s leg/arm. Then switch sides.
Basically, you can do little wrong with baby massage. One thing to keep in mind: always massage the abdomen in a clockwise direction only and pay attention to symmetry: If the left leg is massaged five times, then also the right five times. Do not massage the spine at all or only very gently. If you are unsure, first get a book with instructions or sign up for a massage course with a midwife.