Mothers have been massaging their babies for centuries. Touch is the first sense to develop in the utero and it is the last sense to leave us before we die. Baby massage is an ancient art that promotes bonding between parents and their baby. Baby massage helps you understand your baby’s non-verbal language and individual idiosyncrasies. Dr Tiffany Field, a leading researcher from the Institute of Touch in Miami, states ‘our research suggests that touch is as important to infants and children as eating and sleeping’. It also teachers parents how to lovingly handle their new baby. Current research indicates the loving and nurturing touch you provide will not only make your baby feel secure and loved, but also learn how to relax and release any tension they hold from within. Baby massage promotes positive social, emotional, cognitive and physical development. The medical benefits are immense too.
Include a 15-30 minute massage in your daily routine. De-stress, relax and take some deep breaths before you begin the massage. Find a quiet place to perform this loving ritual. Dim the lights and play soft soothing music.
Remember to read your baby’s behavioral states, engagement and disengagement cues to find to best time to massage. The best time to massage your baby is in the Quiet Alert state. Ask for permission first. A simple ‘May I massage you’ is all that is required, delivered with a loving tone and eye contact. If your baby is fussing and crying, try again later and respect her/his right to say no.
Use cold pressed organic vegetable oil, as research indicates this is the best oil for your baby. Coconut oil, grape seed oil, sunflower or almond oil for example all provide a natural and nourishing touch. It is easily absorbed, has a natural scent which in turn will not mask your own natural aroma for your baby. Mineral oils are petroleum based and not easily absorbed by the skin. Cold pressed organic vegetable oils have no additives and are edible, so if your baby puts their hand in their mouth it doesn’t matter!
Enjoy this special one on one time with your precious baby. For more in depth information on infant massage I recommend you read ‘Infant Massage. A Hand Book for Loving Parents’ by Vimala McClure. Alternatively go to the International Association of Infant Massage website:
Consider taking a IAIM Infant 5 week massage course. Details on my website.