Infant massage is an ancient practice that dates back for hundreds of years and the art of massage has been handed down from generation to generation to promote healthy family development through nurturing touch and compassionate communication. Our ancestors knew this instinctively.The massage strokes taught today are adaptations of the ancient massage strokes and movements and also encompass principles of reflexology and yoga.
Research, clinical studies observations all support the many physical, psychological and emotional benefits of infant massage for babies, parents, siblings and even for society.
Through regular massage your baby will feel loved and special. As a new parent take time out of your busy schedule to turn off the phone, computer, ipad and focus soley on your new baby 100%.This special time communicates pure love.
2. BONDING / ATTACHMENT
You and your baby need time to get to know each other and to bond / attach. Regular infant massage allows time each day for you to focus soley on your baby. Elements of bonding such as eye contact, smell, smiling, vocalization are present during the massage. Massage time really allows you and your baby to connect thus facilitating the bonding process.
Your baby communicates using cues both verbal such as cooing, crying and non verbal cues such as smiling or frowning. Regular Infant massage can help you and your baby to communicate as you will have a better understanding of what your baby is saying to you and how to respond appropriately.As a new parent understanding what your baby is communicating is very important.
Massage is very relaxing for you and your new baby and can help release tension in your baby’s body and mind. Studies show that babies who receive regular massage had a decreased level of cortisol(stress hormone) compared with those who did not receive bedtime massage. Massage also releases maternal hormones such as prolactin and oxytocin which produce feelings of well being and nurturing which are good for Mom and Baby.
Babies who receive regular massage have been shown to sleep deeper and longer. Studies demonstrated that at 8 weeks old those massage babies had more regular sleep / rest patterns and by 12 weeks old had increased melatonin the sleep regulator. A well rested baby will act more alert when awake. A well rested Mom does too!
6. RELIEF FROM PAIN AND DISCOMFORT
Regular infant massage can help reduce or relieve pain from gas, colic, constipation, teething and sinus pressure. Certain strokes and techniques can be done routinely to help with these problems. Regular massage also releases the baby’s natural painkillers called endorphins.
7. WEIGHT GAIN
Regular abdominal massage can tone the digestive tract which helps stimulate food digesting hormones. This results in increased uptake of nutrients, decrease gas and improved elimination. Your baby should gain weight faster and have fewer episodes of constipation.
8. STIMULATION OF SYSTEMS
Regular infant massage can help increase muscle tone, circulation,neurological development and it stimulate the immune system.
There are so many reasons to make Infant Massage a part of your baby’s daily routine.
Melanie Wattles RN, CIMI1, CIMI2
Melanie is a Registered Nurse (RN), a Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI 1, 2) and a Certified Pediatric Massage Therapist ( CPMT). Melanie received her CIMI certification through the International Association of Infant Massage in 2001. She updated her skills in January 2014 and received her CIMI2 Certification through WINC Without Borders (World Institute for Nurturing Communication).