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.

 

 

Breastfeeding at Work, the Importance of Self-Care

If you’re working full-time you are spending forty hours or more at the office a week. Add on being a full-time mommy, and keeping up with your breastfeeding schedule. You have a lot going on. No denial about it. As a mother breastfeeding your child, it’s important for you to take the time to treat yourself right. While back at the work you might become forgetful and get caught up in material you had missed while gone. You might forget to eat lunch or take a break, but it’s very significant for women who are breastfeeding to relax and stay healthy; although, it seems like a hard thing to do.

Taking care of your body is just as important regardless if you are breastfeeding or not, but working mommas know stress can build up when you have a million and one things you need to take care of in one day. Following our previous post, “Is Your Workplace Breastfeeding Friendly?” you already know what questions to ask your workplace about your breastfeeding needs. You should be well prepared and ready to go. Now, take in consideration your time at work and what you need to do to be the best mom you can be to your baby, and also, the best YOU you can be. Here are some tips you can use to stay on top of you game while breastfeeding and staying a healthy momma as well:

Breastfeeding at Work, the Importance of Self-CareBreastfeeding at Work Check List

  1. Make a priority list: Before you being your day at work make a list of your priorities you expect to get done. Making a list will keep you organized and on top of things. It will feel good crossing things off and feeling accomplished after being gone those few months.
  2. Keep your expectations realistic: If you work an eight hour shift each day you should be breast pumping at least three times a day for about 20 minutes each time. This can be stressful if you have things you need to get done at work. Don’t be too hard on yourself and feel as if you need to get things done right away. To keep your stress levels low take one step at a time. It’s important you don’t forget about breast pumping, and make sure to put it in your priority list each day.
  3. Make healthier choices: Instead of ordering take out, pack yourself a salad or something a little healthier. It’s important to feed your body the nutrients it needs because while you’re breastfeeding, and taking care of a little one, you will need the extra energy. Instead of running to the vending machine, make sure you have snacks at your desk for the times when you get hungry. You’ll feel much better afterwards anyway, and guilt free by saying NO to the salty potato chips! (And if you don’t have one, make yourself a Pinterest account. You will be able to find thousands of healthy lunch and snack ideas for breastfeeding moms. There are yummy lactation recipes on there too.)
  4. Stay hydrated: Keep a few bottles of water in your desk as well. It’s important to drink plenty of water even if you’re not breastfeeding. Although the amount of liquid you take in won’t determine the amount of breast milk you produce, it’s still vital to drink when you are thirsty and keep up with supplying your body with the proper amount of fluids.
  5. NEVER skip pumps: Even if you’re tired, or if it’s just one of those days where it seems like you aren’t going to get everything done, NEVER skip your time to pump. If you want your body to become used to generating a certain amount of breast milk each day this is the most important rule to follow! Your milk supply can actually decrease if you are not ordering yourself to keep up with your pump plan. Pumping the same amount of milk each day will help with your stress, and take away the worry if whether or not you will produce enough milk for your baby.
  6. It’s okay to say no: With your busy schedule you can’t possibly take on everything you want to do. As long as it’s good for your company, and yourself, it’s okay to turn something down that isn’t on the top of your priority list. And if there is a work meeting that isn’t mandatory and it interferes with your pumping schedule, it’s okay to miss it. Ask one of your coworkers for a summary afterwards.
  7. Ask for help: Never be afraid to ask for help when you’re starting to feel overwhelmed. Talk to your supervisor about ways you can manage your time at work while you breast pump.

Now this will be the main thing to take away from this post: while you are breast pumping take a second, put the IPhone down, push aside the tablet, close your eyes for a minute and relax. This is a great time to pick up a good book or breathe for a minute during your busy schedule of being a new mommy. This isn’t just an important rule to follow for your health, but also an imperative part of producing, and maintaining the proper amount of milk for your baby. Research has shown women who actually take the time to rest produce more milk than those who are constantly running around!