Baby Massage, is a lovely way for you to express your love and care for your baby. Massage can soothe your baby and help her to sleep.
Massage has many added benefits for your baby, including improving weight gain, aiding digestion, improving circulation, and easing teething pain. Massage is a great way for you and your partner to bond with your baby, and you may find it relaxing, too!
Baby massage is gentle, rhythmic stroking of your baby's body with your hands. You can use oils or a moisturiser 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.
The soothing strokes of your hands stimulate the production of the feel-good hormone oxytocin in you, your baby and even your partner, if he's watching. Oxytocin is the hormone that gives you that warm, loving feeling when you hold your baby close or breastfeed her.
There are lots of ways baby massage can benefit not just your baby, but you and your partner as well. Massage may help your baby to:
One study found that massage in the early days could help newborns to recover from jaundice more quickly (Chen et al 2011).
You may find that giving your baby a massage lifts your mood and helps you to feel more empowered as a parent. The time you set aside for a massage can be your special time together. As you massage your baby, it comes naturally to chat to her and have plenty of eye contact with her.
This is one reason why massage can help mums with postnatal depression (Field 2010), or who are at risk of depression (Field 2010, Underdown et al 2013), to interact with their babies.
Baby massage can be great for dads, too. Some dads may miss out on a lot of the hands-on care of their babies, especially if they are at work and their baby is breastfed.
A regular massage with dad can become a routine, perhaps at bedtime, that helps to bring your baby and partner closer together (Cheng et al 2011, Magill-Evans et al 2006). It can also help your partner if he is feeling stressed (Cheng et al 2011).
Massage may be particularly good for premature babies in special care, resulting in:
These benefits may contribute to the finding that massaged premature babies tend to be well enough to go home with their families sooner than babies who aren't massaged (Field et al 2010, Vickers et al 2004).