The Importance of Touch/Massage for Babies + 2 Effective Strokes to Aid Digestion by Kari Marble
Note from Jane : I highly recommend Kari! She is an incredible teacher supporting mamas /new parents and their babies!
Did you know that touch is an essential element of bonding and baby’s first language of communication?
Massage improves blood oxygenation, circulation, proprioception, maturation of digestion and elimination, and sleep, and reduces muscle tension, stress, fussiness, gas, constipation, symptoms of colic and GI tract distress.
Receiving massage also teaches baby the experience of relaxation and cultivates a sense of well being, of being safe, seen, respected, accepted and loved – which lays a foundation for secure attachment, optimal brain development and a well-adjusted, happy human.
Parents (and other loving caregivers) also experience many benefits such as greater confidence in parenting, joy from positive interaction with baby, bonding and relaxation.
Before diving into massaging your baby, it can be helpful to take an infant massage workshop to learn not just massage technique, but in the spirit of doing massage with your baby, not to your baby, about how to introduce massage to baby slowly, how to ask your baby’s permission for massage, how to read your baby’s yes and no cues and adjust your touch accordingly, and how to set up for baby’s comfort and receptivity (for example, a cold room with a bright light overhead will make it hard for your baby to relax and receive touch, and trying to massage a baby who is already overstimulated and tired will likely just lead to tears).
For some immediate support for those of you with gassy and/or constipated babies, I’ve shared a short video here demonstrating two of my favorite tummy massage techniques, which can be practiced daily or even several times a day outside of a full body massage. Because tummy massage is over organs of digestion, it’s preferable to offer when baby’s tummy is not full (babies take about 20-30 minutes to digest breastmilk and about an hour for formula and solids). I recommend using organic olive oil, sesame oil or coconut oil for the massage.
Happy massaging and, perhaps I’ll see you in a baby massage class sometime soon!