What Will You Learn?
This Baby Massage Lesson will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to practice baby massage safely.
It is widely recognised that immediately after birth, mothers and babies should have skin-to-skin contact, giving reassurance to both mother and baby. Bonding, mutual attachment, and touch is an incredibly important part of the parent-child relationship and should continue from the moment of birth onwards.
The Baby Massage Lesson explains each of these areas and how baby massage can help, along with the techniques other cultures use to promote the bonding between parent and child.
In addition to helping babies and parents to bond, there are plenty of other benefits to baby massage, such as aiding relaxation (for both the parent and the child) and sleep, providing a way for others to bond with the baby, and building confidence in handling the baby. There are also known health benefits, which, along with the aforementioned, are detailed in the course.
Before diving into the massage techniques, the Baby Massage Lesson provides information on baby growth, development, behaviours, and reflexes. This additional informaton provides a more rounded knowledge of infant development, emotions, and physiology.
To ensure the comfort, safety, and happiness of the baby it is important to prepare for the massage.
You will be guided through the steps to take before each baby massage given. From here you will be taken through providing baby massage, including what to be aware of, tips for a pleasant massage, the strokes and sequences for each area of the body, additional techniques and knowing when not to provide a massage. I will be demonstrating basic and advanced techniques, these include:
- Arm Massage Technique
- Chest Massage Technique
- Abdomen Massage Technique
- Leg, Feet and Toes Massage Technique
- Advanced Arm Massage
- Advanced Face Massage
- Advanced Back Massage
- Advanced Leg Massage
- Advanced Chest Massage
- Advanced Scalp Massage
- Advanced Abdominal Massage
Baby massage is an excellent therapy to provide to infants with additional needs. In addition to enriching the bond between parent and child, it can also provide physical, psychological, emotional, and social benefits. The lesson will walk you through these benefits, along with information on massage for growing children.
The use of oils improves the application of massage techniques but before using them on an infant it is important to know the dos and don’ts. You’ll learn which oils are appropriate for this form of massage, what to avoid, and important information on using essential oils.
What is baby massage?
Baby massage is gentle, rhythmic stroking of your baby's body with your hands.
The soothing strokes of your hands stimulate the production of the feel-good hormone oxytocin in you, your baby, and even your partner if they are watching.
Oxytocin is the hormone that gives you that warm, loving feeling when you hold your baby close or breastfeed her.
What are the benefits of baby massage?There are lots of ways baby massage can benefit not just your baby, but you and your partner as well. Massage may help your baby to:
- develop mentally, physically, and socially
- stay relaxed and not get upset
- cry and fuss less
- sleep better
One study found that massage in the early days could help newborns to recover from jaundice more quickly.
You may find that giving your baby a massage lifts your mood and helps you to feel more empowered as a parent. The time you set aside for a massage can be your special time together. As you massage your baby, it comes naturally to chat to the baby and have plenty of eye contact.
This is one reason why massage can help caregivers with postnatal depression or those who are at risk of depression, to interact with their babies.
Baby massage can be great for dads, too. Some dads may miss out on a lot of the hands-on care of their babies, especially if they are at work and their baby is breastfed.
A regular massage with the partner can become a routine, perhaps at bedtime, that helps to bring your partner and the baby closer together. It can also help your partner if he is feeling stressed.
Massage may be particularly good for premature babies in special care, resulting in:
- Improved weight gain, particularly if oils are used. Massage stimulates a key nerve, called the vagus nerve, which connects the brain with important parts of the body, including the stomach. Stimulating this nerve can improve digestion and bowel movement, helping your baby to gain weight.
- A more stable heart rate. Massage improves the parts of the nervous system that regulate our organs. So massage can help to keep your premature baby's heart rate steady.
- Calmer response to stress and pain.
- More stable brain activity. Premature babies who are massaged tend to have brain activity that develops at a normal level. Premature babies who are not massaged have shown a decrease in brain activity development.
These benefits may contribute to the finding that massaged premature babies tend to be well enough to go home with their families sooner than babies who aren't massaged.
Learn more in my blog posts on baby massage here