The gentle, smooth and rhythmic stroking of a baby’s body with bare hands is widely referred to as a baby massage. Due to the soothing strokes from bare hands, oxytocin is released in both the mother and baby creating an atmosphere where they can bond. It is one of the most integral activities during a baby’s growing years.
Parents can start massaging their baby after the first few weeks of birth. They should make sure that the baby is calm, comfortable and content before starting. Also, if the baby has just been fed, it is best to wait for at least 30 minutes since there are various massage strokes for the abdominal area. There is no age bar to giving massages however, massages are not advisable if the baby has a fever or an incision.
Babies can be massaged with different natural oils and are usually massaged right before bathing for relaxation and comfort. Virgin coconut oil for babies is chemical-free, natural and cold-pressed and is one of the best oils for massaging newborns. Coconut oil for newborn’s skin is extremely beneficial and helpful. It consists of antioxidants, laurics, anti-protozoal properties and other essential nutrients from nature. It is usually free from preservatives, added colour and additives. Therefore it is absolutely safe to use for baby massage.
Massaging babies during the initial days after birth helps them feel safe and secure. Providing massage to babies promotes strong bond, helps them to remain happy, regulates their breath, and keeps the baby warm. Massages are mostly given before or after a bathing session. Parents can also choose to give a massage at night so that the baby can have a calm, relaxed and peaceful sleep.
Adults feel relaxed after a soothing body massage or spa. In the same way, mild massages soothe babies and make them feel relaxed, calm and less anxious. It helps them get proper and adequate sleep.
Regular massage helps to improve blood circulation in babies. At a younger age, the flow of blood to hands and legs is relatively less than in the other parts of the body. Hence, more massaging is required for those parts which, in turn, leads to better growth and development of bones and muscles in babies.
The vagus nerve connects the brain with important parts of the body, including the stomach. Massage stimulates these nerves, hence improving digestion and bowel movement, helping babies to grow in a healthy manner. But, babies should be massaged after a wait of at least half an hour after they are fed.
If babies are given a massage before their sleeping time, it improves and regulates their sleeping patterns by relaxing tired muscles, providing comfort and improving the quality of sleep. It also strengthens their immune system.
Massages help babies to respond more calmly to stress and pain. Regular massage makes them less fussy and more comfortable in their environment. Infant massages release hormones that aids in relieving discomfort from teething, chest congestion, nose blockage and emotional anxieties.
Premature babies respond well to massages by developing stable brain activity at a normal level. It encourages the development of flexibility and coordination. It also increases oxygen and nutrient flow to cells.
A gentle massage can be helpful to release trapped gas in the stomach. This soothes a baby who is colicky. Bending the knees of babies upwards till their abdomen can help expel gas and this can be done while massaging the baby.
A great time for baby massage is either before bathing or after-bath time and should be made part of the daily routine. One can use chemical-free, unrefined and cold-pressed coconut oil for massaging as these are the best coconut oils for baby massage and completely safe to use on babies. It really soothes them, makes them feel relaxed and builds their muscles and bones.
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