Infant massage is starting to become an accepted alternative for soothing a fussy baby. Performing the message has been found to strengthen the emotional bond between the parent initiating the massage and the infant receiving the massage.
Leah Meidl, a register public health nurse who is also certified in infant massage, suggests parents use a baby grade grape seed oil to massage the infant.
The techniques involved can both be beneficial to the baby and the parent. Babies receiving the massage usually show signs of improved mood, circulation, sleep, digestion, and brain development, where as the parent builds a stronger bond with their baby and learns and understands the infants communication cue’s. A communication cue is when the child communicates with the parent through a series of physical cues.
“we’re hoping that it promotes bonding so it will reduce rates of shaken baby syndrome and child abuse”, (Meidl).
The infant massage begins with the parent gently rubbing their hands together in close proximity to the infant’s ear and then asking permission to massage the infant. Rubbing of the hands is a communication cue used by the infant to associate the massage. Parents are instructed to observe their baby’s facial expressions while gentle rubbing their hands together and gauge the infant’s response in regards to performing the massage smiling (Yes) or crying (No).
Meidl instructs that, “before the massage even begins, we explain that it’s important to listen to your baby throughout the process”.
Stefanie Tryba a student of Meidl took her infant massage class in hopes that it would allow her to strengthen the bond between her and her two month old daughter Case.
Stefanie recalls learning the techniques for infant massage and uses these techniques to calm down her daughter by massaging her stomach, arms, and legs. Sometimes administering the massage doesn’t sooth baby Case but she has still managed to incorporate the techniques into their daily routine.
“Usually now we do it after bath time”.
Classes for parents interested in learning the techniques for correctly performing infant massage are an inexpensive way to spend time bonding with your baby. Please refer to your local public resources for further information on classes in your area. – Jeff, Staff Writer
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