Three reasons why you should massage your baby
Touch is a basic human need and research has shown that we all need it to survive and develop as balanced human beings. The art of baby massage is hundreds of years old and it’s an art that has been passed down from mother to daughter. Babies as young as a day old are massaged by their mothers in India helping to stimulate all the systems of the body while boosting the immune system.
A question I am often asked is ‘why would I massage my baby? There’s nothing wrong with them, or it’s just a lovely thing to do! Yes, it is a lovely thing to do but there is so much more to it. There are many benefits to massaging your baby and I have picked three that I believe are important on many levels however, there are many more.
We know through research that all the systems of the body are connected. During baby massage the following systems are stimlulated helping to support baby’s equilibrium.
Circulatory systems, digestive systems, hormonal system, immune system, lymphatic system, nervous system, respiratory system, vestibular system (balance and coordination), language development. Regular baby massage also improves muscular development and tone, growth, elimination, sensory integration, connections between neurons as stroking promotes and quickens the growth of the myelin sheath.
Regular baby massage can help greatly with the relief of gas and colic. Strokes used during the abdomen massage can help to stimulate the digestive system helping relieve constipation and elimination, gastrointestinal cramps and excess mucus.
Growing pains and muscular tension are often relieved too by different strokes during baby massage once applied correctly. The nervous system can also be disorganised and baby massage helps to settle the nervous system having many physiological and physical benefits.
A new baby has a lot to deal with on the outside! For months they have had the protection of their mother’s womb and now they are getting use to a new environment.
Through regular baby massage sleep patterns may be improved, and it may also help increase environmental coping mechanisms. After time babies improve their own ability to calm themselves while reducing stress hormones (cortisol) and increasing relaxing and anti-stress hormones (oxytocin).
Baby massage also has many benefits for parents, the family and society. For parents, it’s a better understanding of their baby as they learn to understand and read their babies ques. For many parents especially dads they improve their own self-esteem and confidence in dealing with their little one. I always encourage dads to get involved from an early stage as it helps greatly with their own bonding experience. Parents who have learnt to massage their babies have reported that they themselves feel more relaxed and better able to deal with challenging situations. There’s also the social aspect for parents to meet others in a class environment.
Looking at the bigger picture, society can benefit greatly too. Baby Massage is simply communication through nurturing touch. Imagine a society that has less violence, vandalism and crime. Imagine a society with increased respect and empathy leading to a happier, healthier society!
I love to teach baby massage in a class environment but I also understand that classes are not always possible and everyone’s choice. That’s why I introduced the Mummy&Me package offering a more flexible way to learn how to massage your baby in the comfort of your own home.
For further details feel free to get in touch and I will do my best to answer any questions you may have.
Toni Walsh – Family Massage