Traditional medicine in ancient India also known as ayurvedic medicine introduces the use of infant massage. Since then, it became popular in many cultures such as Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia. Like a typical massage, babies may enjoy the same healthful benefits such as healthy circulatory system, releasing emotional stress and others. Aside from its healthy and physical benefits, parents and their child have the opportunity to bond and share love with each other.
Furthermore, International Association of Infant Massage or IAIM said, doing a regular baby massage helps in giving better sleep, promoting better digestion, boost the immune system, and aids in producing a hormone called oxytoxin. Oxytoxin is a hormone that is use as a pain reliever and gives a calming effect on people. Keep in mind that you must use only light pressure when massaging your babies and you also have to make sure that it is not too light that might tickle your baby. When massaging the smallest areas, use only your fingertips.
Make sure that your hands are clean before you begin the massage. Wash your hands with safe and natural soap that contains non toxic formula that gently cleans and moisturizes the skin. Choose an enclosed room where the air is easily circulated and gently place your baby on a safe blanket or mattress. Talk to the baby in a loving and comforting voice before you start the massage.
Remember to use edible oil to get rid of friction. You can use olive oil or sunflower oil in order to your hands run smoothly over the baby’s skin. Always use non toxic oil because the baby might ingest it when he puts his hands to his mouth. Avoid using oil that is nut based like peanut oil because it may cause allergic reactions to baby’s sensitive skin. Remove your jewelry before doing it and rub the baby in a way that your nails don’t scratch the skin.
A foot massage is very relaxing therefore start with the feet. Start it by giving soft pressure on each toe, then the foot and back to the toes again. Massage gently all the toes and apply circular movements at the heels. Giving a foot massage can normally help reduce stomach pain for babies.
Then move to his legs. Massage each leg with your hands as you press his thighs gently. Slightly bend the legs and knees pressing the thighs gently against the body as you move to the belly. Make a circular way as you massage the stomach. Keep in mind that the genitalia area is not included from the massage. Caress the abdomen as you move your hands clockwise. Don’t use much pressure on this part of the massage because it can cause difficulties with his bowel movements.
Next is massaging his head. Touch his forehead gently followed by the temples and the base of the cranium. Then next are the eyebrows and eyelids, nose, cheeks, the area around the mouth and the ears and the surrounding area.
Lastly is massaging his back. Turn the baby around and start to caress him with large yet slow movements that include his neck, head, back and legs in one direction. Use your fingertips with circular movements as you give him soft strokes on his shoulders and back. Don’t massage the spinal cord, just put your hands and let the baby feel the warm from your hands. Keep in mind that the baby’s spine is more sensitive than adults.
Make infant massage an everyday treat for your baby. It is more ideal if you do this after his or her bath. By doing so, it would help your baby relax and sleep better.