Massage offers us constructive feedback on the need for touch in babies in general, and their unique needs in particularIf the baby is prematurely born, is born from a c-section, or shows defects or handicaps of some kind, infant massage is an excellent support to the physiological maturity and development of the baby
Benefits of Infant Massage
When it comes to cesarean sections, the baby born from a planned cesarean section is likely to need more massage than the baby born from an acute c-section because the latter usually gets some stimulation through contractions before the actual operation.
Infant massage is beneficial, however, for every infantIt stimulates circulation and the immune system and promotes heart activity, breathing, and digestion
This recognition has, over the last few years, resulted in Infant Massage becoming more popular in the western worldMany new parents have heard about the method, and some have even learned to massage their babies
In numerous cultures in Africa, India, and the South Pacific, massage is part of the usual care of infants and babiesIn New Zealand, the Maori mothers massage their babies to straighten out their legs and to improve the shape of their noses
To cure stomachache, the mothers in Cuba rub the tummies of their babies with a mixture of oil and garlicOn the Samoan Islands, massage with coconut milk, flowers, and grassroots, is said to cure anything from a baby’s diarrhea to a grownups headache.
In New Guinea, there is a saying: “The baby cries to be closer to the skin of the mother.” Infant Massage can meet some needsTherefore, the massage of the baby is so valuableApart from the physical effects, Infant Massage creates, the massage also deepens the relationship between parent and child
The experience of being born leaves one with a tremendous and sudden feeling of emptinessAfter months in the womb, the child is no longer protectedThrough Infant Massage, the baby’s sense of still having the mother as a protective shield can strengthen, and the feeling of separation can reduce
Every infant should receive massage regularly to assist adaptation to life outside the womb.
To touch, hold and protect one’s child is a natural thing for most parentsWhen the child is born, the parents usually start feeling it with their fingertips to get acquaintedLater the touching evolves to holding and stroking with the full hand
It is known that the way parents hold their infants will influence it for lifeA firm but a loving way of holding and touching the baby mediates confidence and trust.
In contrast, a tense holding fashion, with stiff arms and hard or frightened hands, may transmit insecurity and anxietyParents who develop their sense of touch through Infant Massage, and their sensitivity to the infant from the beginning, create a relaxed relationship with the baby and will find it easier to comfort it
The personality of the baby and its relationship to others will directly convey the security the baby develops due to this natural body contact.
The tie between mother and child is talking
I would also like to remind one of the importance of the interaction of the fathers with the newbornA great deal of closeness to the baby is a natural thing for the mother since she is the one breast-feeding, but for the father, there is nothing similar
Therefore a daily massage is a superb opportunity in developing contact and bonding between baby and fatherGood friends of mine had a beautiful baby daughter, FeliciaShe was given a daily massage following a bath
The father did this after he came home from work in the eveningThe baby thrived, and the father got to know his daughter extraordinarilyThis little procedure of theirs built a healthy bond for the baby to grow from
She early on mastered her body movements, and her verbal skills also developed exceptionally wellI will never forget meeting her at the age of one
I had not seen her for some time, and she had started walking since thenWhat struck me as most surprising was the way she walkedShe had a balance I have never before seen in such a young child, and she moved her body with grace and stability
Today Felicia is a lovely four-year-oldShe is a strong-minded and independent little girl with a loving relationship with her fatherNot only her father gets to enjoy her brilliant company, but her social skills and wit can amuse anyone aroundAnyone can see the benefits derived from the rich tactile stimulation on her development.
You can check our child massage article for your next steps.