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Massage can soothe your baby and help her to sleep. Massage has many added benefits for your baby, including improving weight gain, aiding digestion, improving circulation, and easing teething pain. Massage is a great way for you and your partner to bond with your baby, and you may find it relaxing, too. Baby massages have a variety benefits. With each gentle stroke, your baby will feel nurtured and loved, strengthening the bond between the mom or dad and the baby. The best time to start infant massage is within the first three months, as babies begin to develop important physical and intellectual abilities, including motor skills. Infantt massage techniques will be very light and gentle. 

Studies show that bonding increases a parent's feeling of attachment as well as their desire to nurture and care for their infant. Massage can also enhance oxygen and nutrient flow to cells and improve breathing patterns and lung health. In many homes, it's a tradition to give your baby a daily massage right after you bring her home for the first time. But a newborn's skin barrier is not fully developed yet, which makes her skin vulnerable to getting dry or reacting to a substance you might apply on it during the massage. After baby's bath is an ideal time for a massage. She's already naked, and her skin is still moist, this is the perfect time to apply oil or lotion. Put oil or lotion in your palm and rub hands together, which warms up the lotion and your hands and makes for a more comfy, enjoyable massage.

Massage may help your baby to sleep as part of her bedtime routine. Research suggests that massaging your baby regularly may help to get her circadian rhythms on track, meaning she'll sleep more at night and be more active during the day. Further, massaging your baby before bedtime can positively affect the hormones that control stress, this means that baby should fall asleep in a very relaxed state.

On the head area do not apply any pressure while giving your baby massage for the first six weeks. Just pat the oil gently onto all parts of the head and let the oil soak in on its own. Once your baby's head hardens, you can gently press with your fingers in small circular movements as you move around your baby's head. It is always good to switch off the fan while massaging the baby. But if it's too hot in your area then you can switch it on and let it be on a slow  or medium speed. Do not massage the baby directly under the fan.

Here's how you can gently massage your baby:

  • Start upper body massage with your hands on baby's shoulders. Make gentle strokes in towards the chest.
  • Near the face area, fold your hands (as if you were praying) on your baby's forehead, then gently push outward from the center.
  • Hold your hand so your pinky's edge can move like a paddle across your baby's belly.
  • Massage her abdomen with your fingertips.
  • Massage baby's feet using soft, gentle strokes.
  • Massage baby's legs, working the shins and the thighs.
  • With one hand, gently hold your baby's ankle. Place your other hand at the top of your baby's thigh, molding it around the leg

 

Aside from gettting your baby to be comfortable and familiar with your touch, there's also plenty benefits in doing a baby massage such as:

  • Improving sleep
  • Stimulates growth hormone for weight gain in underweight babies
  • Promoting social, emotional and cognitive development
  • Improves overall functioning of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Relieves the pain and discomfort of teething
  • Decreasing irritability and excessive crying
  • Helping a baby relax and release tensions of daily stimuli
  • Improving circulation
  • Weight gain

 

Some studies show that massage, particularly when done with oil, may help a premature baby to gain weight. Massage stimulates a key nerve, called the vagus nerve, which connects the brain with important parts of the body, including the stomach.

The goal is to get baby comfortable and familiar with your touch. Baby massage is the gentle, rhythmic stroking of your baby's body using your hands. 

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