If you want to strengthen the bond between you and your baby, nothing tops a daily massage. It is also known to improve the sleep, relieve colic and promote the development of the child’s immune system, motor skills and intellect.
Before you start massaging your baby, you need to take care of a few things. Use a blanket or towel and massage oil. Make sure the oil does not cause any irritation on the baby’s skin. Start the massage when the baby is alert, sitting in a diamond shape by putting the soles of your foot together.Drape the blanket over your feet and knee.
After undressing the baby, place her head on your feet. Give a gentle stroke from the head to the toes. If the baby gets irritated by it or stiffens, end the therapy right then. Otherwise, gradually move to the other parts of the body, massaging section by section.
One must massage the skin in a direction away from the heart as it calms the body and helps improve sleep. If you massage towards the heart, this stimulates the body and makes the baby more active.
One of the best techniques for the baby’s arms and legs is the milking technique.Using your forefinger and thumb, make a loose circle or C around the arm or leg of your baby. Gently pull down her arm or leg, as if you are milking a cow. Repeat this several times and regularly. You could also try a rolling massage, which is quite enjoyed by babies. One limb at a time, roll your hand over them rocking them back and forth against the blanket on which the baby is resting.
Take special care that you don’t tickle the baby while giving a massage. A massage is meant to relax the baby, not irritate her.
Let’s look at a few baby massage tips for the various parts of the body.
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Legs and Feet:
Hold the baby’s thigh using between your thumb and forefinger. Stroke her leg down to her feet, starting from the thighs, and then rub her feet with your thumbs. Curl and uncurl her toes. Repeat the procedure with the other leg as well, and then bend and unbend the knees. Don’t forget to be absolutely gentle; don’t pull her legs with a lot of pressure and if she straightens her leg then allow her to do it rather than forcing it upon her.
Chest and Tummy:
This is probably the most soothing part of the whole massage process. In a direction away from the heart, start by massaging from the center outwards, slowly moving your hand over her skin. Then massage her tummy in a clockwise direction rubbing very gently. This helps a lot in the process of digestion. Repeat this process till the baby feels calm. Remember not to tickle the baby’s belly while massaging as it may be extremely irritating for her.
Head and Face:
Using your fingers make circles on her head. Mover your fingers across her forehead and cheeks very gently, and draw a smile on her lips.Make sure to maintain distance from the eyes and nose of the baby as this might make her uncomfortable.
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Lay down your baby on her stomach first. Staring from the center, go in the outward direction while smoothing her back. Instead of gripping her shoulders as in case of an adult, use gentle circular movements to rub her shoulders and lower back.
Massaging a newborn baby is a really integral part of the development of the baby and special care should be taken that it is done right; and this guide will help you do that perfectly.
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Happy growing up!