For centuries, societies of the east have been reaping the many benefits of baby massage on a daily basis. In western civilizations baby massage is a relatively new phenomenon, although in latter years, has rapidly increased in popularity.
The pleasures of gently stroking and massaging your little one are reciprocated between parents and baby. What are the benefits of baby massage? Below are ten reasons why you should massage your infant.
1 – Your baby works very quickly at developing his/her senses, with ‘touch’ being the first of the senses that newborns develop. Massaging a baby enhances a baby’s sense of touch.
2 – Massaging your baby regularly will help to build up and regulate his/her respiratory, circulatory and digestive system.
3 – Gently rubbing, touching and massaging a baby helps to relieve gas and constipation, two symptoms related to colic.
4 – Research has proven that regularly massaging a baby calms the nervous system and helps aid restful sleep.
5 – Massaging a baby helps to develop a bond between mother or father and baby. It augments a communication of love and affection and helps parents and baby to understand and respond to non-verbal language.
6 – Caressing your baby’s skin gives you more confidence when it comes to handling your baby. This can prove particularly advantageous to first-time parents, who can sometimes be slightly nervous when it comes to handling their babies.
7 – Massaging your baby provides some quality time to relax and ‘get to know’ your little one.
8 – Spending valuable time exploring an infant’s body and skin increases a parent’s awareness of their baby’s growth and development.
9 – Massaging a baby regularly will inevitably make a baby more aware of their body’s tension and how to release it. Being able to effectively release tension is an important gift as a child progresses into adulthood.
10 – Holding and stroking a baby releases the hormone oxytocin – commonly referred to as ‘the cuddle hormone’. The benefits of oxytocin are reciprocated between parents and baby, and include reducing anxiety, lowering blood pressure and promoting relaxation.