Congrats! You now have a tiny bundle of joy (that eats, poop, sleeps and cries)…. Now what? Wouldn’t it be nice if your new baby had come with an instruction manual? Figuring out how to keep your baby happy all while bonding and feeling connected to your new baby can be a struggle for many new parents. Infant massage is one way you can help to promote bonding and attachment with your infant. This can be especially important for second (third, forth…) babies, for dads or with babies that are “difficult.”
I have been teaching infant massage classes in Lake County for the past four years and have seen firsthand the benefits using it with my son when he was a new born. I often have parents ask me about infant massage, so I have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help others learn more:
Who benefits from learning infant massage?
Honestly, almost ANYONE can benefit from infant massage- moms, dads, grandparents, single parents, foster parents, adoptive parents, working parents and other caregivers. Infant massage is one way you can help to promote bonding and attachment with your infant. This can be especially important for second (third, forth…) babies, for caregivers other than mom that have a harder time getting that “special time” with the baby or with babies that are “difficult.”
It can help promote bonding and attachment, love, respect, communication, nurturing touch and quality one-on-one time with your baby.
What are the benefits of infant massage?
It helps to stimulate all the vital systems (e.g., circulatory, digestive, immune, nervous, etc.), speech and language development, sensory regulation, growth, improved learning ability and awareness of the body in space.
It helps to promote overall relaxation, which can improve sleep patterns (I mean who doesn’t want their baby to sleep better?!?), reducing stress in both the caregiver and infant, improve the baby’s ability to self-calm and normalize muscle tone.
It helps to relieve gas, colic and constipation. It can also help to relieve teething discomfort, tension, excess mucous, growing pains and disorganization of the nervous system.
How old should my baby be?
Infant massage is ideal to use with babies that are 2 months or older. Prior to this time the baby is learning how to eat and function outside of the womb and may not be ready for this extra input. These strategies can be adapted to meet the needs of your growing and moving child as he/she gets older. I have also had expectant parents take classes I have taught in the past so that they learned the information (using dolls) before their baby arrived so they were ready to use it on their own baby when he/she was ready.
Are there any risks?
Generally no; however, in some situations parents should discuss it with their pediatrician if there are concerns about a specific medical condition prior to attending the session(s) or massaging the baby.
How do I learn more about infant massage?
Pediatric Interactions has therapists trained in infant massage and can offer individual sessions to help you and your baby. Contact us for more information.