Parent experience and research show there are many wonderful benefits of baby massage – emotional, physical and social.
The ancient art of baby massage incorporates touch, eye contact, verbal communication and the expression of love and respect. This, combined with focused one to one time to connect is proven to promote the bond between a parent and their baby.
Baby massage can also help promote sibling bonding in the same way that it promotes the parent-baby bond, through eye contact, nurturing touch and communicating love.
Baby massage is a great way for families experiencing periods of separation to reconnect with their baby. For example, baby massage offers parents working away, or with prolonged hospital stays the opportunity to reassure their baby of their loving affection and for them to refocus on home life and relax in their baby’s company.
By stimulating their baby’s bodily systems (including circulatory, digestive, lymphatic and respiratory) through baby massage parents can help ease their baby’s colic, wind, constipation and congestion.
Using touch, parents can also soothe teething & growing pains and relieve psychological and muscular tension in their baby.
Babies who are massaged are reported to have improved balance & coordination, plus improved muscle development and tone, which can support movement.
Baby massage also promotes improved sleep patterns and deeper sleep for babies, which brings me on to the wonderful benefits of baby massage for you.
The International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) classes are for babies from birth to 1 year old. Classes are baby-led, which means that it doesn’t matter if class times coincide with nap or meal times. Parents are encouraged to follow their baby’s cues and comfort their baby as needed. All babies are welcome with all of their emotions and ways of expressing them.
It can be nerve wracking and exhausting leaving the house with a baby, an IAIM baby massage class offers a safe space where everyone is welcome and accepted. It offers a great opportunity for you to get out of the house, meet like-minded parents and drink a hot cup of tea. (Text continues after photo)
Attending classes with your baby is known to break the feelings of isolation that many parents experience when they have a baby. The IAIM baby massage program specifically has been shown to promote recovery from Post Natal Depression.
When parents massage their baby the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) reduces and the levels of oxytocin (the love hormone) increases in both the parent and their baby. This reaction reduces stress and helps to promote bonding.
The interaction encouraged by baby massage can help parents better understand their baby’s non-verbal language and feel more confident in responding to their baby’s unique needs.
In learning baby massage, you learn a life-long skill. A skill you can use long after your course has finished – to soothe growing pains for example. You will also be shown how to adapt the IAIM massage stroke for your growing child.
Longer term, research has shown that infants who receive nurturing touch through baby massage grow up to be healthier, more empathic and happier adults.
As you can see there are many wonderful benefits of baby massage. If you would like further information about the benefits of baby massage, or how to book onto a Cai Baby Massage, please do get in touch – I’m always happy to chat!
Certified Infant Massage Instructor with IAIM
Cai Baby Massage
caibaby.co.uk @caibabysussex email@example.com
Blog originally written for the ABC Magazine, Winter Edition 2018.
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