Skin-to-skin contact is well known to be beneficial to young children, promoting bonding between a parent and their child, and soothing even the fussiest baby. Although the word ‘massage’ can seem a bit daunting, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to be a trained masseur to be able to practice this skill with your infant - gentle caresses are enough to give your baby the benefits of a massage, and can help you get to know your little one, too!
What are the benefits?
Gas and constipation reduction
Massaging helps to stimulate your baby’s circulatory and digestive systems, getting their blood flowing to all the right places. As any parent with a gassy baby knows, often a few gentle taps on their back can help them to pass the wind which causes them such discomfort, but a massage can help to stimulate their digestive systems to prevent gas, too.
A massage is not only helpful for a baby’s internal systems, but also a soothing and calming experience. A soft and gentle massage can encourage your baby to relax, and even nod off to sleep.
A gentle massage not only helps reduce the build up of dead cells on the skin’s surface, but also increases blood flow and helps the body to maintain skin health. Regular moisturisation also helps to keep your baby’s skin soft and supple. It’s important to choose the right oil or lotion when massaging your baby: be sure to steer clear of products formulated for adults, as these can be too harsh for sensitive infant skin, often containing strong fragrances and other chemical nasties. Try out our Mother & Baby Massage Oil, formulated with natural ingredients and dermatologically tested for safe use for both adults and infants. The chamomile and apricot scent has calming qualities without being overpowering, and it can be used to give yourself a massage at the end of a long day too.
Better bonding between parent and baby
By stimulating your baby’s body you’ll notice your child reacting to different kinds of touch, which helps you to develop an understanding of your child’s needs. It’s recommended to speak in soft and reassuring tones whilst massaging your infant, which promotes feelings of trust and bonding between you and your baby.
How do you do it?
Don’t get too caught up in the exact technique: this is your moment to learn what’s right for your child, and they will let you know when you’re doing it right. Start by laying your baby down in a safe and comfortable position and gently rub massage oil into their back and limbs. If you’re not sure how much pressure to exert, start out lightly and slowly go deeper - if your child is giggling or wriggling it may be too light. For best results, try massaging your baby just before bedtime to promote a peaceful sleep for your child - giving you some time to rest and relax yourself too.