By Kelowna Massage – Whether you are an infant or an adult, receiving massage is feels wonderful and relaxing. Beside those good feelings you get when you are given one massage has many other benefits for both your baby and you. It has been practiced by non-western cultures for centuries. Recently this ancient eastern practice was found to have validity by hospital staffs and physicians.
Why to Massage an Infant
Touch: Touch is one of baby’s basic needs. It is as important as the formula or breast milk that you give to your newborn. Touch is so important that without touch, an infant will die. Infants crave your touch as those with asthma crave air. Stroking your baby’s body will help her to grow. Touching your baby stimulates the releases hormones that promote growth. Research shows that premature infants that received more touch gained almost 50% more than those infants that did not. The reason this works is because the digestive system is stimulated during the massage so absorption of vitamins and nutrients are enhanced.
Digestion: Many infants have problems with gas, constipation, colic and the pain that come with these conditions. Massaging your infants belly in a clockwise direction will help relive these digestive problems.
Stress Relief: When a baby is born they go from a quiet dark warm and soothing place to a world where things bang and it is filled with bright lights. Imagine having been in a warm soothing comforting bed sound asleep, only to hear the smoke alarm ringing. You startle and stress, even if there is no fire. That is the type of stress a baby experiences when it is born. Babies need to de-stress from the birth process and their rude introduction to the world. Infant massage eases their transition to the world. It reminds them of the soothing feelings they experienced within the womb. It helps to quiet and relax them. Massage, whether received by infants or adults, decreases Cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress responses. For baby, decreased stress means better quality of sleep (this means mom and dad will sleep better too!). Decreased stress has been proven to enhance immunity.
Bonding: No matter how much you love someone, sometimes it is hard to have that feeling of being connected to them. Labor was hard; giving birth is tiring. It is hard to have that Hallmark kind of “motherly feeling” when you aren’t feeling good. Massage will help increase those motherly feelings in you. If your baby isn’t the snuggly type, massage will help the baby learn to enjoy your touch more.
Communication: Communication between you and your baby are enhanced through massage. It provides the opportunity to learn what each coo or noise that make means. You will soon find that a baby communicates through her entire body. As you interact with your baby, you will be able to learn more about her likes and dislikes.
Brain Growth: The increased physical interaction between you and your baby will help enhance the development of the brain. Children who do not have adequate stimulation through talk and touch have been shown to have less areas of blood flow to important areas of their brain. Conversely, increased stimulation boosts brain cells.
Hospital staffs feel that infant massage is of such benefit that parenting classes on how to give a massage to their baby are frequently provided prior to discharge. This enables those infants that have enjoyed the comfort, relaxation, physical and emotional health benefits from massage to continue to get these benefits in their new home with you.