What happens? Your baby cries every time you put her down. You can pick her up, and she’ll be smiling and calm again. Imagine how relaxing it can be to hold your baby and then give her a full-body massage. Studies have shown that infant massages can reduce fussiness and crying, make her more peaceful, and relieve common whining issues like colic and constipation. Some believe that massaging an infant can even increase a baby’s immunity to germs.
Tiffany Field, Ph.D. director of the Touch Research Institute, University of Miami School of Medicine, explains that a massage can stimulate a baby’s central nervous system. This causes a chain reaction. Her brain produces more serotonin, which is a feeling-good chemical, as well as less cortisol (a hormone that’s released in response to stress). Your baby’s heart rate and breathing will slow down and she will feel more relaxed.
Regular massages are good for your infant’s emotional well-being. K. Mark Sossin Ph.D. is the director of Pace University’s Parent-Infant Research Nursery in New York City. He says that rhythmic movement and affectionate touch are powerful ways to communicate with babies. Parents reap the benefits of baby massage. Elaine Fogel Schneider, Ph.D. is the author of Massaging Your Baby. The Joy of Touch Time. It will teach you how to recognize your baby’s needs and help you respond to them better.
It is easy to give your baby a massage. You only need to give your baby a massage for 10 to 15 minutes. You can choose a time that is comfortable for you and quiet enough to keep your baby alert but relaxed. You can overstimulate a fussy baby and cause him to be more upset. Start after a diaper change, or as part of a bathtime ritual.
Before you start, ensure that the room is quiet and warm. Grab some baby oil and take off any jewelry. Lay your baby on his back, with his diaper removed, on a blanket or soft towel, with a pillow underneath his head. Start by gently rubbing your baby’s palms with your thumbs. These soothing techniques are recommended by Dr. Schneider. Start with your baby’s legs, and work your way up to his upper body.