Touch is a very powerful element in human bonding. In fact, the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) suggests that parents introduce touch as soon as the baby is born. This can be done with skin-to-skin care or kangaroo care. While you’re holding your baby close, gradually start stroking their legs and back. Then move on to other areas such as the arms.
After the first few weeks of birth, you can begin massaging your baby. But there are a few dos and don’ts of baby massage that should be taken into consideration in order to provide the best experience for you and your baby.
Follow your baby’s mood
Your baby should be calm, alert, and content when you’re ready to give them a massage.
Have a cozy atmosphere
Massage your baby in a warm, quiet place. Place them on a towel on their back so they can maintain eye contact. This can be on their changing table or on your bed.
Gentle and soft strokes
Strokes should be as gentle and soft as if pressing your eyeball.
How often to perform baby massage?
It depends on you and your baby. Some parents give their baby massages daily, while other parents massage their little ones every other day. You can massage your baby during the morning to get the day going or at night before bedtime to help soothe your baby to sleep. Pay attention to your baby’s cues to help determine the best massage routine.
– Elizabeth Richard, Certified Infant Massage Instructor, International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM)
Massage after feeding
The IAIM suggests waiting at least 45 minutes after a feed. Performing a baby massage too soon after they eat can cause vomiting.
Never perform any massage technique that seems to make your baby uncomfortable.
Don’t be discouraged
If massaging your baby doesn’t work out at first, don’t give up. You and your baby may have to practice a few times before getting the massage just right. Each practice will develop a deeper bond with your baby.