As parents, one of the most rewarding experiences is bonding with their baby. But with the constant demands of daily life, it can be difficult to find the time to really connect with their
little one. That’s where massage can help. Massage offers a unique way for parents to bond with their baby. Not only does it promote physical relaxation, but it also can help create an emotional connection between parent and baby.
Massage has been shown to help babies relax, reduce fussiness, and improve overall well-being. Research has shown that massage can lead to increased alertness, improved sleep, and improved blood circulation among other benefits such as development of the nervous system, weight gain, and increased muscle tone. But not all of the benefits are for babies alone. For parents, massage helps create a sense of calm and connection. While the normal lament of new parents is that there is no "Instruction Guide" for babies, parents can accumulate knowledge, awareness and "tools" through working with their babies to give them confidence in being able to communicate with and care for their babies. Massage can help reduce stress and anxiety, both in the baby and in the parent. While baby is receiving a massage, baby feels cared for and gains confidence that they are safe and comfortable, and they learn that there is someone who cares for them and will help and protect them. While giving the massages, parents learn baby's cues and their likes and dislikes, plus can be more aware if something isn't right with baby so problems can be identified and addressed quickly. Also, with every new parent's busy schedule, the "parent guilt" is often there that they can't spend enough time with their new baby. Adding massage into baby's routine is a way to kind of force a parent to stop, remove themself from their busy day, and focus on the baby, helping parents relieve some of that guilt and stress.
There are many ways to learn how to massage baby. Most of the time, bare instinct is enough to get started - massage is a very natural thing that many parents just reach out and start doing. For more refined explanations, there are many books and resources online to learn massage, or parents can attend a class or work with a massage therapist who specializes in infant massage. Massage is a great way for parents to bond with their baby and create a lasting connection.
Karen Stoner, LMT of A Caring Touch: Massage Therapy specializes in Prenatal and Infant Massage, as well as provides Infant Massage Instruction to parents and caretakers. Check here to learn about private and public infant massage classes.