Baby massage has become increasingly popular over the last 15 years. It has been very common practice in many cultures, especially many Indian and African societies for a long time as an important element of baby care.
The act of baby massage can be described as a soothing, rhythmic stroking of your baby’s body with your hands. You can use your hands to move smoothly over your baby’s skin. Baby’s ankles, wrists and fingers can be gently massaged as part of your routine. Choosing massage oil involves many considerations including safety, cultural preference, family tradition, availability and cost. It is vital that you use a safe oil for massaging your baby – go to this link Massage oils for all the latest research.
Beryl King who works in the Health Promotion Department at Sidra is a certified infant massage instructor (CIME) and has been facilitating baby massage classes in the UK and Middle East since 2005. She is currently the contact person for the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) in Qatar.
Beryl talks about the benefits of baby massage:
What are the benefits of Baby Massage for my baby?
STIMULATION – language development, improved learning ability, muscular development and tone, growth, elimination systems (circulation, digestive, hormonal, immune, lymphatic, nervous, respiratory) coordination and balance.
INTERACTION – pre-language communication skills, love, respect, nurturing touch, tolerance, empathy, promote secure attachment, one-to-one quality time, using all the senses, imitation.
RELAXATION –improved sleep, regulation of behavioral states, improved self-regulation, reduced stress levels and stress hormones, higher levels relaxing hormones, less hypersensitivity, less hyperactivity.
What are the benefits of Baby Massage for me as a parent?
- Decrease stress hormones, higher levels of relaxing hormones
- Improved sleep
- Stimulates lactation
- Decrease in postnatal depression
- Better understanding of baby
- Reading and respecting cues
- Promote secure attachment
- Improved self-esteem and confidence
- Improved parenting skills
- Positive activity
- Early involvement of father
- A chance to discover the baby’s uniqueness
- Quality time
- Meeting other parents (social aspect)
Are there any other benefits of Baby Massage for families as a whole?
- Involvement of siblings
- Decrease in sibling rivalry
- Increased respect
- Relaxed environment
Reduction of conflicts