Infant massage, an age old practice, is simple, free, can be managed almost anywhere and has a host of emotional and physical benefits for both you and your baby.
The chore of developing a standard and restful sleep pattern for your infant is often an exercise in frustration and confusion for many parents.
Researchers have shown that hospitalized infants grow more rapidly when correctly massaged. Infant massage provides most of the benefits such as, physical benefits, emotional and psychological benefits, and long-term benefits and improves bonding between you and your baby.
Physical benefits of infant massage:
- The sleep quality can be improved through infant massage. It strengthens the nervous system.
- It provides relaxation and also strengthens the immune system.
- Reduces muscle tension and supports neurological development.
- Infant massage releases both polypeptide hormone and endorphins which can assist in relieving discomfort from teething, chest and nose congestion, colic and emotional stress.
- Skin stimulation speeds the process of myelination of the brain and nervous system hence it improves brain-body communication.
- Gentle massage encourages the development of flexibility and co-ordination.
- Increases oxygen and nutrient flow to the cells.
Emotional and psychological benefits of infant massage:
- Infant massage decreases stress and tension for both you and your child. It encourages a state of calmness and relaxation.
- It increases parental confidence and self esteem.
- It strengthens bonding, especially for those parents with interrupted bonding through prematurely, medical problems and etc.
- Infant massage provides quality time for a working parent.
- It is a relaxing and fun for parents.
- It develops mutual belief and respect.
Long-term benefits of infant massage:
- It decreases hyperactivity and encourages calmness.
- It improves your babyâ€™s skin condition.
- It provides daily relaxation for both you and your child.
- Infant massage provides an opportunity to the parent for understanding behavior through both non-verbal and verbal communication.
- Place the child in control of his/her body.
- It helps to maintain the strong bond between you and your child that forms the basis of loving, open communication.
- Massage can lessen the effects of postnatal depression and help mother have a more positive interaction with their baby.
Bonding with infant massage:
Bonding is a unique relationship between you and your baby. It is a pleasant experience for both of you. Strong attachment can develop a sense of security in your child. Quality time with children can often be affected with infant massage.
Doing a massage right after getting home from work will help a parent reconnect with baby after a hard day, and will help both baby and parent relax and unwind.