Benefits of Baby Massage & Touch
Regularly massaging your baby is a way to give him much more. More bonding time. More sensory stimulation. More healthy development.
One of the most important experiences for your baby to have happy development is your loving touch. Research reveals that routine touch and massage by a parent or loving caregiver are critical to a baby’s growth, communication and learning.
Why baby massage is important?
Massage therapy is one of the oldest forms of treatment, with evidence of its use in China, India, and Egypt over 2000 years ago; Hippocrates defined massage medicine as “the art of rubbing” in 400 BC.
In many ways, touch is our first language. A gentle and loving touch can help small babies grow stronger and feel less anxiety. Infants who experience routine touch show 50% more eye contact and are 3 times more likely to have an overall positive expression than infants who do not. Let’s explore the benefits of baby massage and how you can start massaging your baby perfectly!
11 Benefits of Baby Massage
- Soothe your baby and reduce his crying
- Aid digestion and help relieve colic, gas and constipation
- Increase daily weight gain
- Enhance your baby’s adjustment to nighttime sleep, and help your baby sleep more deeply
- Relieve nasal congestion and teething discomfort
- Help develop good muscle tone, coordination and suppleness
- Enhance body awareness
- Boost the immune system
- Improve skin texture
- Help calm and relax both you and your baby
- Boost your confidence in handling your baby
Bonding through baby massage
In many hospitals and birth centres, newborns are placed on the mother's chest or abdomen to give them as much skin-to-skin contact as possible. Close contact between you and your baby helps calm your baby’s breathing (another reason for the post-bath cuddle) and helps bring you emotionally close—a process known as bonding or attachment.
Giving your baby a massage is a wonderful way to help strengthen your bond. This is the key to a child’s development, as many researchers and clinicians feel that a positive maternal-child bond helps to form the basis for future relationships.
Your touch contributes to your baby’s first emotional bonds. This contact helps build a foundation for emotional and intellectual development later in life. So the next time you give your baby a massage after his bath, know this act of love means more to his development and can have a lasting positive impact.
What are the benefits of infant massage?
As we already explored above, infant massage is a great way to nurture your baby and spend time with him. In addition to skin-to-skin contact, research has shown routine touch and massage leads to improved cognitive performance and increased alertness and attentiveness in children. Yet, according to the JOHNSON’S® Global Bath Time Report, only 23% of parents around the world say that massages can be extremely important to baby brain development.
Other possible health benefits of infant massage include:
- Encouraging better physical interaction and development
- Helping the baby relax and sleep better
- Research also suggests that infant massage promotes growth
- It can positively affect hormones and alleviate stress
- Massaging your infant can help reduce crying by calming the baby down
When should I massage my baby and how often?
You can start massaging your baby after the first few weeks of birth but make sure your baby is calm and content when you want to give them a baby massage. If at any point your baby seems uncomfortable or stiff, you should stop and try another time when your baby is in the mood. It is also a good idea to avoid massaging immediately after baby feeding, it may lead to vomiting. Waiting from 45 minutes to an hour is the ideal way to do that.
When and how often one should massage a baby is up to the parent, while some parents like to massage their newborn babies daily, others prefer every other day. Bedtime is an ideal time as well since massage can be incorporated in the baby’s or toddler’s bedtime routine as a soothing technique. While morning baby massages can help energize your baby and get the day going! Once you get started, you will gain a better understanding of what works best for you, and for your baby.
Baby Massage Techniques: How do I massage my baby?
Here are some baby massage techniques to help you master this healthy routine!
- Start by creating a calm, warm and quiet atmosphere. It is also recommended to remove your jewellery to avoid scratching or hurting your baby.
- Maintain eye contact with your baby and let them know that it is massage time.
- Use a gentle touch and avoid tickling the baby or irritating him. You can change to firmer touch as your baby grows.
- Spend one minute each rubbing different areas including baby’s arms, legs, back and gently massage their stomach. If the baby is still peaceful repeat the same rubbing motions again.
- While massaging, try flexing and extending your baby’s arms and legs to help stretch his body.
- You can also try talking softly to your baby, or singing to him or her while massaging to help them relax.
- If the baby runs his head away or seems restless, stop the massage and try another time.
Should I use oil for baby massage?
Using a baby massage oil is optional, but many parents prefer it to avoid friction between their hands and their baby’s gentle skin. If you choose to use massage oil, then Johnson’s Baby Oil is the best baby oil to try. It is dermatologist and allergy-tested, making it an ideal massage oil with a soft touch and nourishing effect. Johnson’s Baby Oil can also calm any itching and soothe any irritation while deeply moisturizing baby skin and protecting it from dryness. Johnson’s Baby Oil is great for baby massage and is clinically proven to have a soft effect on your baby’s skin.
Bonding Through Massage
Show him how much you care using your baby’s first language — touch