Massage is a wonderful and special way to share one to one time with your baby. It is an ancient art used in many different cultures to help with a variety of physical and emotional needs and to promote relaxation.
Bonding is not always immediate and it is completely normal for it to take days, weeks or even months to nurture this special relationship.
Early positive interaction and touch are incredibly important for babies. Touch is their most developed sense at birth and through massage you can communicate love, security & trust to your baby immediately.
Massaging your baby provides a period of mutual pleasure and focussed one to one time for both parent and baby to enjoy which enables your baby to feel comfortable and trusting.
During massage, parents use eye contact, talking/ singing, exchange of smells and positive touch to help develop their unique attachment. It also gives parents the opportunity to observe their baby so that they can start to recognise their baby’s subtle, non-verbal language. When parents can understand their baby, and respond to their needs in a positive way, their confidence will start to grow which can feel very empowering.
Baby massage offers relief from several issues related to babies.
Massaging the liver and abdomen increases bowel movement, aiding the digestion and excretion of waste and helping to relieve wind, constipation and colic.
By using special massage techniques around the eyes, cheeks, nose and chest, the pain associated with teething, colds and congestion can all be relieved, and by using nutritious oils during massage the condition of the skin can be improved by removing dead skin cells, stimulating the sebaceous glands, opening pores and keeping skin lubricated. Stimulation of the skin through massage also increases the production of endorphins which helps to reduce pain and tension.
Massaging your baby boosts their circulation and stimulates all the systems within their body. This ensures the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to cells, tissues, fibres & organs, helping them to work more efficiently and strengthening muscles and bones.
The immune system is also strengthened by increased stimulation of the lymphatic system, which is responsible for fighting off infection and disease. Babies who are massaged regularly show more weight gain as they have better immune systems and are less likely to be sick.
When babies are born they have no control, co-ordination, emotional thought or awareness of their body. Because their skin is covered in nerve endings, every time they are massaged we are sending messages to their brain to help them understand where their limbs are and how to control them, therefore developing co-ordination, movement and body awareness.
Through stimulation of the skin, the process of myelination is also sped up, enhancing neurological and motor development. Tactile stimulation improves sensory awareness though touch, eye contact, smell & sound, helping to teach babies about communication, speech and language.
When you massage your baby your body releases “feel good” hormones which help you both to relax. Gentle massage is very calming and can help reduce tension, restlessness and irritability, as well as promoting sleep to enable babies to fall asleep faster, longer and more deeply.
When a baby is upset or tense, their sympathetic nervous system is activated, which releases stress hormones like adrenaline as baby prepares for fight or flight. When massaging, cuddling or holding your baby you activate their parasympathetic system, which works against the sympathetic nervous system to restore relaxation by releasing restful hormones like Oxytocin and Endorphins.
As parents learn massage techniques it increases their ability to help relax their baby in times of stress or distress. Oxytocin has the power to soothe, relax and calm your baby, and even makes you feel more chemically attracted to them.