The Benefits Of Regular Massage May:
- Help you and your baby to bond and understand eachother better.
- Soothe babies and reduce crying.
- Aid digestion and help relieve other issues such as colic, wind and constipation.
- Enhance body awareness and help develop muscle tone, coordination and mobility.
- Help babies to sleep for longer.
- Boost parents confidence in handling their baby.
- Improve skin texture and suppleness.
- Help calm and relax both parent and baby.
- Relieve nasal congestion and teething discomfort.
- Boost the immune system.
- Choose a time when your baby is awake and alert.
- Choose a warm room with no draughts, a peaceful atmosphere and no distractions.
- Ensure that lighting is dimmed and not too bright.
- Use a pure almond oil, light vegetable oil or olive oil as they are kinder to baby's skin and are perfume free.
- Use a thick towel or a soft changing mat or rug.
- Place your baby on their back, feet towards you. Let them know the massage is about to begin by warming the oil between your palms where they can see it.
With one hand holding the ankle, use the other to glide up the front, wrap around one of your baby's thighs and pull down to the ankle, squeezing gently as if you are 'milking' the leg. Repeat one hand after the other so you are continually stroking and be sure to get into all of the creases especially behind the knee. Repeat with other leg.
Use your thumbs to draw small circles around baby's knees and the ankle bones on outsides of their legs before moving on to baby's feet.
Using your thumbs, massage the heel of baby's foot in a circular motion, pressing firmly so it does not tickle. Then make gentle strokes from heel to each toe.
To relax and uncurl baby's toes, push your forefinger softly across the heel and also at the base of the toes. Next take each toe between your thumb and forefinger and gently pull until your fingers slip off the end.
To finish of this section use your palm to press in to the heel and run your hand up and over the toes.
Lastly, take the foot and rotate it a few times in each direction, then stroke the top of baby's foot from the ankle down to the toes.
Switch feet and repeat the steps.
And that was the end of yesterday's class. Next week we're moving on to the chest and tummy area so be sure to come back and visit for more tips on the art of baby massage.
If the course sounds like something you'd like to try for yourself, speak with your midwife/health visitor or contact your local Sure Start Centre. It's free of charge and not only benefits baby but gives you a chance to socialise and meet with other parents too.