Benefits of Infant Massage

Benefits of Infant MassageDid you know that the sense of touch is your baby’s most developed sensation at birth? Touch gives babies and their loved ones the ability to connect. During the first year, or at least before they are able to speak, touch is their primary way of communication between you and your baby. When your baby begins to cry you usually pick them up and bring them to your shoulder, sometimes gently caressing their back as you soothe them. When they are hungry you bring them to your breast creating skin on skin contact as you breastfeed. Both of these are important communication situations where touch is used to make your baby feel both calm and secure. As they begin to grow they use their sense of touch to learn by feeling and observing objects, and their environment. This is where parents use phrases like “hot” or “cold” to describe certain things that could be harmful.

Touch is more than a comfort and a learning process; it can also help with your baby’s developmental progression by strengthening their body and their mind. Infant massages have amazing developmental benefits that can help your baby in many ways. Many professionals encourage mothers and care givers to practice infant massage with their baby almost every day to help boost and support their bodies. Here are just a few things infant massage can do for your little one:

 

Emotional Health Benefits

Infant massages are great for a baby’s overall health. Studies have proven that a daily massage has impacted an infant’s emotional health in such a positive way. Because touch is a baby’s first sense, massages can help them relax, and when a baby is comfortable and relaxed their body releases the “happy” hormone, oxytocin. Oxytocin in turn lowers stress levels, decreases the feeling of fear and fussiness, and it enhances the feelings of love and security. When a baby or toddler feels safe they are able to feel more comfortable in their surroundings, which helps their ability to fall asleep faster and for longer periods of time. Infant massages also give the baby and their caregiver the chance to spend precious moments together they can both look forward to at the end of the day.

 

Developmental Health Benefits

Touch is the only way a baby is able to learn about their body and help themselves become developmentally strong. When a baby begins to recognize their legs and feet they will start trying to use them more and more, and soon learn how to control their muscle coordination. As you massage your infant you will play with their legs and feet stimulating their brain’s knowledge of their lower bodies and promoting their want to crawl and walk quicker. Infant massages also have huge benefits for babies who were born premature or those who are mentally fragile. Massage can help them become more alert and active, and for premature babies it can help them gain weight by strengthening their digestive, circulatory, and gastrointestinal systems.

 

Immune System Benefits

As your baby grows one of the things you will worry about is whether or not they have a healthy immune system. As stated above, infant massage can increase your baby’s overall health by strengthening their digestive, circulatory and gastrointestinal systems. It can increase an infant’s resistance to infections and enhance their body’s ability to get nourishment to important areas. Massage improves relaxation and decreases stress levels while their bodies produce more of the oxytocin hormone. It can also ease pain and increase a baby’s pain tolerance once they begin teething, or if they become injured or ill. Facial massages, just like adults, can help with sinus and head tension as well.

 

Mother and Baby Bonding Benefits

Bonding with your baby is very important. It increases a parent’s self-esteem and makes them feel they are really doing their best to love and provide for their little one. Through infant massage parents will be able to give their baby more attention they need to feel secure and loved. Many parents have found infant massage has made them more aware of their baby’s wants and needs and are able to tell certain cues apart and be more attentive of how to comfort them and ease their fussiness. Infant massage isn’t just time for mommy and baby but also a great way for dads, partners, and other loved ones to spend precious moments with their baby and strengthen their bond as well.

 

Practicing infant massages with your baby is a very smart and fun thing to do. However, if you are thinking about trying it out and are unsure where to begin, or what’s safe for your baby, make sure you search for trained professionals in your area that teach infant massage. Babies are delicate and the best way to care for them is to be 100% sure you know what you are doing, especially when it comes to massage.