4 Benefits of a Baby Massage
A baby massage is a great tool for parents. You don’t need any special equipment and it provides several benefits to both babies and parents. Some baby-friendly oils may be helpful (always check with your doctor first to make sure it’s safe), but truthfully all you need is a bit of one-on-one time with your baby.
Gently rub your baby all over. Don’t use too much pressure or you’ll be overwhelming. Always pay attention to your baby’s cues. If he’s not enjoying the experience, stop and try again some other time. If he fusses every time you try to massage him, it might not be for him. Avoid massaging immediately after a feeding or just before. Bellies that are full or empty might make the rubbing uncomfortable.
Once you start giving your baby a regular massage, neither one of you will want to stop. Here are the top three benefits of a baby massage.
You will soothe your baby.
Surely you’ve had moments when your baby only seems to be quiet when he’s in your arms. The moment you put him down, he fusses and cries again. Once you pick him up again, he relaxes.
A full body massage for a baby can be soothing for the same reasons (and more) as it would be for us. Having our muscles and skin gently rubbed produces a calming, relaxing effect.
When you touch your baby’s skin, his brain produces serotonin and oxytocin, chemicals that makes them feel good, and less cortisol, a hormone that’s secreted in response to stress. As a result, your baby's heart rate and breathing slow down and he becomes more relaxed. Try to limit the number of distractions in the room so your baby focuses on the massage.
You’ll increase his emotional well-being.
Touch is the most developed of all your baby’s senses at birth. As such, affectionate and rhythmic touching is one of the most powerful forms of communication between babies and adults. It’s excellent for bonding. Make sure not to treat the massage like a chore. Keep plenty of eye contact and show lots of smiles.
Further, a regular gentle massage has been shown to help parents feel more in control, something new parents often desperately need. It’s especially helpful for women suffering from postpartum depression. You’ll learn what types of touch your baby likes and dislikes, and how to read his symptoms.
Your baby will feel loved.
Take every opportunity you can to show your baby how much you love him. A massage is an excellent way to do so. For a couple of minutes you give your child your full attention and offer him a relaxing, full-body sensation. He’ll love not having to compete for your time and attention. Those brief moments can help you build a lasting relationship that will last for his whole life.
Your baby will sleep better.
We all have different ways of falling asleep. Some of us like to read for a few minutes, take a warm bath, or drink a cup of tea. But a soothing massage will put most of us in the mood to fall asleep, babies included. Try offering your baby a massage as part of your bed time ritual. Once you’ve calmed and relaxed him, he’ll be more inclined to fall asleep more quickly and sleep deeper.
You can compound this effect by performing the massage every time you put your baby to sleep. You’ll create a habit where his brain and body recognize that it’s time to sleep.
Helpful tip: A baby massage is an excellent way for fathers to bond with their children, too, who might spend as much time with the baby as the mother would.
Written by Stephanie Parker from Sleepingbaby.com, inventors of the Zipadee-Zip
The motto for Sleeping Baby, makers of the Zipadee-Zip, is: "Inspiring Dreams One Night at A time," and that, in a nutshell, is how it all started…with one little dream that has since become the Parker family's reality. When Brett and Stephanie Parker's daughter, Charlotte, was born, the feeling that welled up inside of them was indescribable; they never realized until first looking into those baby blues of hers that they were even capable of that kind of love.
When it was time to transition baby from swaddling, the Parkers tried every sleep sack on the market and every swaddle weaning trick they could find for nearly two weeks and nothing worked to get baby Charlotte to fall and stay asleep.
Stephanie became determined to restore sleep and sanity to their household and set out to find a solution that would soothe Charlotte's startle reflex and provide her the cozy womb-like environment she loved so much but still give her the freedom to roll over and wiggle around in her crib safely. Out of sheer desperation and exhaustion, the Zipadee-Zip was born. The first Zipadee-Zip(R) Stephanie put together on her little sewing machine worked like magic!
To date tens of thousands of Zipadee-Zips have been sold and all from word-of-mouth marketing. It is so rewarding for the Parkers to see other parents and babies getting the sleep they both need and deserve!
For more information, visit sleepingbaby.com.
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