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Infant Massage

Infant Massage

For years, adults have enjoyed the health and mental benefits of massage. Today, many parents are learning how infant massage can help their baby with colic symptoms, fussiness, and gas. Also, massaging your baby is a great way to bond with your baby, and increase closeness.

Infant massage can be done almost anywhere on an infant's body. Massage can help promote relaxation, increase circulation, and improve digestion in your baby. You can find infant massage courses at your local community center, or you can easily do it at home. It isn't difficult to learn some basic strokes.

The first step is the most important one does your baby want the massage? While an infant can't tell you in words that she doesn't want to be touched, pay close attention to body language as you begin to massage your baby. It can help to put some baby oil or sunflower oil on your hands for smooth, even strokes during the massage. Your baby will be most comfortable lying on her back, and use a blanket on the floor or changing table for the baby to lie on.

Begin with the baby's arms, gently squeezing the muscles as you move from the shoulders to the forearm. Give soft strokes with your hands along the length of the baby's arms, and alternate this a few times. At this point, your baby might open her fists or fully relax her arms, so watch her for cues. If her fists are clenched, you can use slow, circular motions on her palms to allow them to open.

Begin massaging the baby's chest with light strokes, moving to her shoulders and again down the arms. Repeat the same gentle muscle squeezing you did on the arms with the infant's legs, and use your thumb to push on the sole of the baby's foot. Stroke from heel to toe with your fingers. Push the baby's legs up to her chest very gently, and make a bicycle motion. This move is especially effective for colicky or gassy babies.

You can continue on to the abdomen and buttocks, massaging soft circles on the baby's stomach and backside. Stroke gently with your hands below the baby's ribcage and over onto her buttocks. If your baby is restless at any time during the massage, try to touch her head and tummy in between strokes, and talk in a soothing voice. This helps your baby calm down and be reassured as you continue with her massage.

A lot of infants will have a contented look on their face, or even fall asleep during the massage. You can repeat infant massage anytime you wish, as long as your baby agrees to it!


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