Touch is the very first way that you will communicate with your baby. As a parent, you will naturally cuddle and stroke your baby when they cry. Baby massage extends this natural instinct and can benefit both you and your baby in surprising ways. Baby massage involves stroking your baby with your hands, gently and rhythmically. It may also include gentle manipulation of the hands and feet. It is suggested that you wait until your baby is six weeks old to begin formal baby massage classes as this can be a little overwhelming for very young babies.
Baby massage can be a great way of increasing the bond with your baby, building on that first skin to skin contact at birth. Regular massage allows this emotional bond to grow and develop naturally. It can help mums suffering from postnatal depression by encouraging an early bond with baby. It’s also a great way for other carers to bond with baby as they learn to recognise each individual touch.
Introduced as a way of supporting the development of premature babies, studies have found that baby massage improves outcomes for these babies and that they have fewer postnatal complications. It is thought that babies who receive regular massage can benefit from improved social, cognitive and emotional development.
Parents who have spent time regularly massaging their babies tend to be more confident in recognising their needs and handling them. This leads to happier babies and more relaxed parents. The massaging process helps you and your baby understand each other better and become closer. If you understand your baby better, they will have less need to cry, so massage can even help to reduce crying.
Getting your baby into a regular sleep routine can be one of the most challenging parts of early parenthood. Baby massage can assist with this process as it helps both you and your baby to be more relaxed and has a soothing effect. It can also help to improve digestion, relieving wind and colic. Massaged babies tend to sleep for longer, leading to both happier babies and parents.
For more information on how to book a baby massage class, check out the directory here.