Touch is your newborn baby’s first language, it’s how they communicate with you and plays an essential role in your developing relationship.
When you stroke their head, tickle their tummy and hold them close, when they reach out and grab your finger, you are growing closer emotionally as well as physically.
Baby massage can take that one step further and really deepen the parent-baby bond.
It’s a wonderful tool for every parent but can be a real lifeline for those who find the newborn phase more challenging than they were expecting.
A busy parent can squeeze a quick massage in after work, or while an older child is otherwise occupied for a short time. If a parent is struggling with post natal depression or lack of confidence then learning a short baby massage routine can be an “easy win,” giving them something to feel good about.
And if your baby finds the world a little overwhelming then massage could be the perfect technique to make them both physically and emotionally comfortable.
As a Maternity Nurse qualified in baby massage I like to use baby massage as part of a daily routine. Even better, I love to teach some simple moves to new parents.
You’ll find that it helps both you and your baby to relax. Just like skin to skin contact after birth, massage releases oxytocin and endorphins and lowers the stress hormone cortisol, encouraging your baby to feel protected and loved.
It can also ease muscular tension. That all helps set your baby up for a good sleep and can even support their immune system so they get fewer infections.
Massage gives you confidence in handling your baby, it’s particularly good for dads who might not have as many opportunities to spend time with their little ones as mums do. As you grow in confidence you’ll start to get to know your baby better, anticipate their needs and read their cues. This little bundle will become less of a mystery to you and more a tiny person that you can get to know and understand.
Baby massage can also be very useful if your baby is struggling with some of the common newborn problems like colic, trapped wind or constipation.
I’ve often shown parents techniques that they can use to make their baby more comfortable, aid digestion and relieve pain. A very useful thing when your baby is uncomfortable late at night and everyone just needs to get a little rest!
This simple, loving touch can seem like nothing much. Just rubbing on a little oil, nothing particularly special. In reality it’s an amazing toolkit that you can use to do everything from helping to facilitate weight gain to improving joint flexibility, and of course bonding with your baby.
Ideally you do want someone qualified to show you how to massage your baby, to make sure everything you do is safe. I can do that for my clients, but if you don’t have a Maternity Nurse on hand you can look for a local baby massage class where you learn techniques that you can use at home.