What is Infant Massage?
Infant massage goes beyond simply cuddling & provides a unique method to provide greater physical and emotional links between parents and infants. With massage you can show affection, communicate, and provide a greater sense of care with your infant. Massage can also provide a baby relief from trapped gas discomfort, constipation, teething, or daily stress. Performing Infant Massage in 15 minutes increments daily can help promote increased circulation, relaxation, as well as aid in helping the digestive system and provide relief of muscle tension in your infant. Infant Massage can provide a comforting option for siblings to contribute to the baby’s health.
Infant massage, not to be confused with Pediatric Physical Therapy, involves gentle, rhythmic stroking of your baby’s body with your hands. You can use oils or a moisturizer to help your hands to glide smoothly over your baby’s skin. As part of your massage routine, you can gently manipulate your baby’s ankles, wrists and fingers. You can talk softly, hum or sing to your baby while you are massaging, which may make it more reassuring for your baby. Strokes can be modified for all children not just infants.
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Massage strokes help with:
- Gas, constipation, digestion
- Increase body awareness, improve sensory integration, normalize tone, and promote motor control
- Self-care activities (brushing teeth, washing face, combing hair, trimming nails)
- Eating, self-feeding
- Play with toys, feeding, completing schoolwork
- Roll, crawl, sit up tall
- Stand and walk
- Toe walkers, wearing socks and shoes
- Crawl, stand, walk, and climb
- Before and after brace wear (AFOs, SMOs)
- Faster weight gain, improve cardiac and respiratory output
- Better sleeping patterns
Research shows that infant massage has been beneficial in the following areas:
- Helps relieve discomfort from gas, colic, and constipation
- Improves blood circulation
- Aids in digestion
- Enhanced development of the nervous system
- Stimulates neurological development
- Increases alertness/heightened awareness
- Reduces stress hormones
- Improves immune function
- The release of oxytocin, the nurturing hormone
- Relaxes & soothes – nurturing touch is a naturally rewarding way to relieve stress for you and your baby.
- Deepens bonding – essential one-on-one time that will enhance your intimacy, understanding and ability to nurture.
- Improves communication – increases your confidence and sensitivity to your baby’s cues.
- Contributes to development – stimulates growth and healthy development of your baby’s body, mind and spirit.
- Empowers – enhances your ability to understand your baby’s special needs.
- Helps baby sleep better – helping your baby release stress which builds daily from new experiences means more rest for baby and you; everyone feels better!