If you have ever received a massage, you know just how good you can feel after it. You may have noticed the feelings of stress and anxiety melting away. You may have also noticed that little aches and pains decreased. Over time, massage has even been shown to create real physical and mental benefits that can translate into a better quality of life. If massage is so good for adults, imagine how it could help your infant.
The birthing process is not a gentle one from the infant’s perspective. As you can imagine, it can feel stressful to suddenly be in a new environment and to be away from mom so much of the time. Infant massage is a great way to ease away this stress from your baby while also improving your baby’s ability to relax and fall asleep on his own.
How to Massage Your Baby
You do not have to be an expert to start massaging your baby. In fact, it is something you can easily begin doing at home. You may want to make a regular practice of it, such as by doing it after every bath or as part of your baby’s bedtime routine.
Be gentle as you knead each area of your baby’s body. Place him on his back to stroke and rub his head, neck, back, and legs. Roll him over onto his back to rub his arms and the fronts of his legs. The longer you massage your baby, the more you will find out what he prefers. You may discover that he particularly likes one type of motion or that a certain body part is very ticklish. You will be able to tell whether he likes what you are doing by how happy or restless he appears.
Benefits of Massage for Babies
If your baby has a hard time getting to sleep at night, you may find that massage helps him better relax. However, massage is also great for encouraging a nurturing relationship between you and your baby. Your baby will learn to trust you more. Finally, massage helps decrease stress hormones and may even be able to reduce crying episodes.