The loving touch - "It almost seems as if he's helping me," exclaimed a new grandmother in her enthusiasm of massaging her first grandson. "As I start to massage him, I can see the love lighting up in his eyes." Infant massage is a wonderful and unique way to welcome your baby into the world. It facilitates the developing relationship between parent and child by increasing feelings of attachment and confidence in parenting skills.
This loving communication through touch can help both of you relax and unwind. In healthy babies, massaging right from birth helps a baby feel comforted and secure. Massaging once a day is recommended for the first six months, then two to three times a week.
However, some children and adults find it so beneficial that a few short minutes of back or shoulder massage before bedtime may become an enjoyable part of your routine. Taking a class in infant massage can be a special time to learn about your baby and their moods. Moms and dads sit in a circle on the floor, with babies on blankets or in their parent's arms. Gentle music is in the background. Some babies are in a receptive mood and enjoy their parents' touch. Others may be hungry, sleepy, fussy or just not in the mood for massage.
However your baby feels is alright. Parents' touch grows more confident and skilled as their baby relaxes and clearly enjoys the experience. Is it a coincidence, we wonder, that parents report their babies are generally calmer and less fussy, sleeping better and longer, and have less gas since they have been massaging them? Information about infant massage is also available through books, videos, cultural knowledge and one-on-one instruction. Remember that as you massage your baby, you are giving a lifelong gift: the gift of how to relax. In our modern, hectic world, it can feel good to come back to the basics, the simplicity of healing, loving touch.
Sharon is a registered massage therapist and a certified infant massage instructor. Previously published in Calgary’s Child Magazine.
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