why we love infant massage
Posted on Thursday, March 08, 2012 in The Conscious Living Blog by Heather Hamilton
There is nothing sweeter, nothing more scrumptious than the delicate skin of a baby. You know what I’m talking about – those plump little cheeks that you can’t help but kiss, or that velvety soft tummy and those squishy little legs. One of my favorite times with my boys is our little after bath routine. Of course, a 2 and 4 year old won’t hold still anymore, while I massage organic oils into their skin. They insist on participating in the process, which usually means oil everywhere. But, my boys have grown up enjoying the benefits of massage since they were infants and although it has become a bit of a free-for-all with the oil bottle, it is still a special time.
Infant massage is special. The benefits are vast and they aren’t limited to baby. I spent a few minutes compiling a list of some of these benefits and I would love for you to add to the list or share your experiences by commenting below!
- Improves blood circulation
- Increases alertness/heightens awareness
- Reduces stress hormones
- Improves immune function
- Enhances development of the nervous system
- Aids digestion
- Relieves discomfort of gas, colic, constipation
- Deepens bonding
- Helps parent/caregiver respond to baby’s cues
- Enhances communication between baby and parent/caregiver
- Creates an opportunity for father, grandparents, or other special people in baby’s life to bond
- Effective as bedtime routine
- Improves relaxation, sleep
- Deepens feelings security and overall well-being of baby
Setting the stage:
It is important to create an environment worthy of this special time. Try to set aside 15-30 minutes of uninterrupted time, free from distractions. I always like massage time to follow a bath. Baby is relaxed, warm and his/her skin welcomes the massage oil. Make sure the temperature is warm enough so baby, who is naked or in only a diaper doesn’t get cold. Dim the lights, play a favorite lullaby album and follow it up with time in a rocking chair.
Infant massage doesn’t have to be complicated! Purchase a book on infant massage or borrow one from your library. Netflix has some “how to” infant massage videos that you can view instantly. If you want to get really serious, take some classes.
Here are a few general guidelines:
- Use gentle, light strokes (but not so light it tickles)
- Move from baby’s center, outwards. For example move from baby’s shoulders down to his/her hands.
- Balance – if you massage the right leg, massage the left leg next
- Watch baby for cues.
Zoe Organics Baby Massage Oil: one of the beautiful products in our baby line is our 100% organic baby massage oil. Made with organic oils of apricot kernel, jojoba and olive, and organic essential oils of roman chamomile and lavender, this oil will leave baby feeling (and smelling) fabulous.
Always use a vegetable/plant oil and never mineral oil on baby’s skin. For more about the benefits of the oils in our products, visit our ingredients page.
Stated simply, babies require touch. It is a critical component of their development. It is tough being a baby! Trading the security of the womb for this big world is no cake walk. Massage is a way for you to demonstrate your love and affection and lower the level of stress baby experiences. Need I say more?