I is for Infant Massage

Do you feel refreshed and relaxed after having a massage?  I know I do.  Having the tension in your muscles worked out can make you feel like a new person.  Believe it or not, newborns can benefit from massage therapy as well – and it is safe to start as soon as you would like.  Birth was a difficult journey and they are growing rapidly inside and out, so they are bound to have a few kinks that can get worked out.  Infant massage is a great way to help relax your baby, decrease stress, relieve their gas, and bond.  While they may benefit from professional massage or chiropractic therapy, there are some basic massage techniques you can do from home.  If you are in the military I highly recommend contacting your local New Parent Support Program (NPSP) and scheduling a group class or private home visitation where they can provide hands on instruction for massaging your baby safely.

When planning a time to give your baby a massage, make sure you aren’t rushed, your baby isn’t too hungry or too full, and that your baby isn’t being too playful.  While it is relaxing to have a massage, sometimes your baby just won’t be in the mood. Always take note of your baby’s behavior before and during a massage and if it seems like he/she is done for that session, don’t push to finish the massage.  When massaging, consider using a natural oil to allow your hands to rub more gently, these can include: coconut, canola, corn, olive, grape seed, avocado oil.  Remember your baby will put his/her hand in their mouth so they will like ingest whatever oil you use. Do not use undiluted essential oils to massage your baby.  You only need enough oil to moisten your hands, and avoid nut oils (may cause an allergic reaction) and baby oil (can clog pores).  Have your thermostat set to 75°, or higher, or have a space heater in the room you plan to massage your baby in – no one enjoys a massage in the cold!  You can have lullabies or white noise playing, or you can use this time to also sing to or talk with your baby for additional bonding.  Baby massage is most comfortable when done with your baby completely undressed, or at least in just a diaper.  I recommend massaging on a towel, or something that can be washed due to the oil and risk of potty accidents.

Common infant massage techniques include: legs and feet, face, chest and arms, tummy, and back.  Massaging your infant’s tummy in a clockwise motion can help with digestion and gas.  If you choose to massage your baby’s head, which can be very relaxing, make sure you avoid their soft spots. These videos should only be used as refreshers, and should not take the place of an infant massage class.

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Massage can be a wonderful activity to build into your daily routine.  The more often you massage your baby the more familiar they will become with it, come to enjoy it, and look forward to this time with you.

Did you massage your baby?  I took an infant massage class through NPSP with my son and really enjoyed it!  I wish I had done more massage with my daughter, but as usual, I had no time since I was chasing around a toddler as well.

Next I will be blogging on the letter J… J is for Juice.