Bond with your newborn through your touch. We tell you all you need to know about baby massage.
WORDS CINDY LIM
A gentle rubdown can work wonders for your little one – be it to soothe tears, a gassy tummy, or to relax him before dreamland. However, infant massage is more than just touch – it is a way of communicating and connecting with your baby, understanding cues and responding with love and respectful listening.
“Of all the five senses, touch is the first sense developed at birth, it is very sensual and nurturing, the massage helps in the physiological and psychological development of the baby, the touching and caressing help strengthen the connection and to cement the bond in the new relationship,” shares Shillina Phua, chapter representative of International Association of Infant Massage (Singapore), a non-profit educational organization with certified infant massage instructors in over forty-four countries.
Benefits of Infant Massage
There are many ways in which baby massage can benefit not just baby, but mummy and daddy as well. Parents may find that giving their baby a rubdown actually eases their own tensions and stress, and lifts their mood. Massage is also an excellent bonding time between parent and child – eye contact, smiling, chatting with baby all comes naturally during the session.
Here’s how else it helps:
Massaging Your Baby
There is no fixed rule on when one should massage an infant. However, according to Wong Boh Boi, assistant director (clinical) and senior lactation consultant, Thomson ParentCraft Centre, most babies may prefer a massage after their routine bath before going into a good relaxing long sleep while a few others may find such an activity too much before bedtime. Parents can take the baby’s cue by trying it out at different times of the day and watch for the baby’s reaction.
When performing a massage on your baby, parents should:-
“Always remember that infant massage is with the baby and not to the baby - parents are advised to relax, have fun and sing. Nurturing touch can be done anytime, anywhere in a simple way,” shares Phua.
Learn How to Massage Properly
Babies are fragile and have different needs from adults. To understand the best way to massage and bond with your baby, parents may choose to enroll in a baby massage course conducted by a certified and qualified infant massage instructor or organization.
“Baby organs are very delicate. In infant massage classes, parents are taught to feel and understand where the organs are located and reasons why we use particular strokes and in specific directions. As baby skin is fragile and thin, parents would be taught to avoid using too much force or strength that may lead to abrasion or bruising,” explains Wong.
Infant massage is not just for baby – it is a life skill which parents can continue to use to bond and connect deeply with their child.