You see a fussy baby, pick the baby up, it is calm and probably even smiling. You put the baby down again, boom! Fussy again! Sounds familiar? Touching and cuddling a baby could calm them down, imagine the world of benefits they could get from a massage. There are studies that have proven that massaging an infant can bring down fussiness, help them sleep better, improve common causes of fussiness like constipation and colic and improved mother-baby bonding.
Researchers have proven that a massage stimulates the baby’s central nervous system, setting off a chain reaction. It makes the baby’s brain produce serotonin – a feel-good chemical and less cortisol – a hormone that is secreted when stressed. The baby’s heart rate and breathing slow down as a result and becomes more relaxed.
Here are a few things you need to keep in check before you start a baby massage session:
– As little as about 10 to 15 minutes of massage would suffice a newborn.
– Choose a time when both you and the baby are relaxed. A session just before bath is a great idea.
– Ensure that you have washed your hands and the place you have chosen for the session is clean.
– Massaging a fussy baby is not a great idea as you could potentially overstimulate the baby.
– Choose a room that is warm and quiet.
– Make sure there is no jewelry that could get in the way.
– Lay the baby facing up on a soft towel or blanket with a soft pillow for the head.
Start by holding the baby’s hands, gently rubbing the baby’s palms with your thumbs. When you feel the baby is tuned in to you, try some of these techniques starting with your baby’s legs working your way up.
Baby Massage Techniques:
Legs: Wrap your hands around your baby’s legs gently but firmly and glide your hands down from thigh to ankle. Repeat this a few times before switching to the other leg.
Belly: Placing your hands at the level of your baby’s navel, rub your fingertips firmly and gently over the baby’s tummy in clockwise motion.
Arms: Gently roll the baby’s arm between your hands starting at the shoulders and going down to the wrist. Repeat for a couple of times before switching to the other arm.
Neck: Support your baby’s head with one hand. Place the thumb of your other hand on one side of the neck and your first two fingers on the other side. Use your fingertips to gently rub the baby’s neck in a circular motion. Repeat a few times.
Colic Relief: Right after the belly massage, bend the baby’s knees up to tummy and hold for about 30 seconds before releasing. Repeat a few times. Then place the edge of one hand on your baby’s belly, gliding from the belly button down in a rhythmic pattern. The movement will release pent-up gas. Repeat if needed.
Mommy & Me offers a baby massage workshop that teaches massage techniques that can be greatly beneficial to your baby. Follow us on our social media to get to know the date and timings of these sessions.