Guest Author - Megan Faulkner
Infant massage is one of those things that was really trendy among parents for a while that is now rarely talked about; however, it is still just as important to developing babies and their parents. Studies have shown that babies who receive infant massages are more attentive afterward which makes them better able to learn about their surroundings.
In addition to boosting their ability to learn, infant massages have been shown to help reduce the signs of colic in babies and helps them soothe their little tummies. For infants with gas, constipation, or other digestive troubles, massage can be a great way to relax the body and to help the digestive system to regulate. Infant massage may not cure what ails them, but it will certainly help babies to feel better in the process.
Many hospitals have begun using and recommending infant massage for premature infants as studies have shown that they gain weight faster than non-massaged, premature babies. Studies have also shown that skin-to-skin contact helps babies develop physically and mentally as well. Since you are already spending that time together, why not practice some infant massage techniques.
Aside from physically feeling the effects of the massage, the baby is benefiting from the attention received and the parent and child are learning more about one another and how to respond to each others cues. Parents will quickly learn what strokes the baby prefers, what the baby dislikes, and how to best soothe the baby. Infant massage may be soothing to many parents as well and it can serve as a real confidence boost as you begin to understand your baby so much better.
There are many techniques that can be used in infant massage and some techniques are better for certain things than others. For example, if you want to ease gas versus getting the baby to sleep, it is likely you would use different techniques for each of these things. There are many different ways to learn about these techniques. Those interested can find videos and DVDs that show parents how to massage their babies. There are also many great books available, or you can even take a class! In many communities you can find classes taught by people who are certified in infant massage. By attending a class, you would not only receive hands-on instruction (quite literally!) but you would also have the opportunity to meet other parents in your community.
Whether you decided to take a class, read a book, watch a video, or simply work by instinct, infant massage is a great way to bond with your baby and help the both of you to feel more comfortable and relaxed afterwards. If you havenít tried infant massage, I encourage you to give it a try. There is nothing to lose!