Baby massage is very common these days, however, it is not new, the history comes from the Ayurvedic medicine. This was also seen earlier during the days of Qing dynasty in China.
Benefits of a baby massage
Helps in healthy weight gain: Baby massages promote growth and overall health. According to a recent study report* premature babies who received a type of massage known as “touch therapy” gained 47% increase in weight than babies who did not receive any massage
Decreased chance of getting jaundice: Bilirubin is a compound in the blood which causes jaundice. A massage can reduce its level
Reduces Colic: Colic is a severe pain in the abdomen of babies. Babies will not be able to burp themselves because of underdeveloped sphincter causing a belly discomfort. Massage helps in relieving gas or any constipation. Just like rocking infant seats, a massage also helps relieve colic. A colicky baby can be calmed by a massage
Sweet Sleep: It has been studied that baby massage can reduce the stress and stimulates melatonin production. Since melatonin’s job is to regulate the sleep cycle, massage helps babies to fall asleep faster.
Strengthening bonds: Baby massage strengthens your bond with the baby through eye contact as well as skin-to-skin contact. Mothers with postpartum depression can use this massage to relieve their stress, depression and to bond with the child. Paternal stress is also reduced due to massage which improves the bond between the baby and the father.
Many studies show that babies who were given massage were good at being alert and respond well to audio-visual habituation.
Is it safe to massage?
The skin of a baby is very soft. So, people often wonder if a baby’s skin can undergo a massage given by an adult. With an extremely sensitive skin, it is possible to overstimulate the baby. Hence it is important to follow the points below:
- Avoid oil massage on the face
- Avoid massaging on top of the head as the soft spot is still closing
- Avoid deep massage because of the skin’s sensitivity
- Massage should be short and sweet; 5-10 minutes
- Stop if the baby starts to squirm, cry or falls asleep
- No artificial dyes or any other harsh ingredient should be used