Something that you may have heard of, as a new parent, is the concept of baby massage. This type of massage is nothing like the one you’d normally get out of your budget shiatsu massager. This is something that comes with a variety of benefits for your infant and that is highly recommended by a number of experts on the topic. The reasons, methods, and benefits of baby massages are mentioned here in detail for your consideration.
The Benefits Of Massaging Your Baby
There are a number of advantages that have been identified when it comes to baby massage. For one thing it has been shown to relieve the discomfort associated with teething, pain, congestion, gas & colic, all of which can make being a new parent very difficult. In addition to that there is a direct link between baby massage and a good balance in hormones. One of the main reasons why mothers and fathers give their babies massaged is that it is thought to be a means of developing a very strong bond with your child as it increases bonding with your baby through nurturing touch. At a practical level baby massage facilitates your baby’s development in that it increases your baby’s sensory awareness. In addition to this it is thought to improve your baby’s digestion and help your baby to sleep better. Overall it is something that seems to promote both physical and psychological development in your child and is therefore a good skill to learn. Perhaps the most important benefit is that baby massage helps foster love, compassion and respect for your baby even as it enhances neurological development. The most obvious benefit is that it improves circulation increasing the oxygen and nutrients that flow to your baby’s entire body.
Steps In Giving Your Baby A Massage
Here are some steps to massage your baby:
- Start at the top and work your way down gently touching his temples and forehead, eyes, mouth and eyelids.
- Move to the neck. Gently make small circles to massage the neck and gradually move on to the shoulders. Use the same gentle strokes on the shoulders.
- Circle your baby’s arm with your finger and thumb. Rub around the underarm area and move down along his arm. Gently turn his wrist to help him practice this movement.
- Start below the ribs and use circular motions to massage his stomach.
- Rub each leg lightly using your whole hand and then gently flex his knees and legs.
- Rub your baby’s feet by placing light pressure on each toe. Rub the foot and return to the toes. Rub his heel in a circular motion.
- Turn him onto his stomach to rub his back gently. Your strokes should always be in the same direction. Do not rub the spine, but rather place your hands there gently so that your baby can feel your warmth
The Role Of A Baby Massage Nurse
In certain infant units in certain healthcare facilities nurses are trained and hired to administer massages to babies as it improves their moods and helps them cope better with discomfort and pain.
There are many benefits to having a baby massage nurse see to your child. Although bonding will not take place as quickly due to the short-term nature of the care, there are several advantages to having your baby massaged while in hospital:
- It helps to relax and calm the baby
- It improves digestion
- It lessens congestion
- It helps increase circulation
Baby massage is becoming a more widely accepted form of infant treatment, but it must be administered by someone who has been trained in order to ensure that your child is kept safe throughout the process.
Clearly, then, the primary role of a baby massage nurse is to massage babies within a medical context if and when the baby needs such treatment. It must be noted that infant massage, when administered by someone who has been trained in the techniques, cannot harm the child. It will always enhance their well-being in some way. Consequently allowing your baby to undergo a baby massage at the hands of a baby massage nurse can only be a good thing and it does not mean that there is something specifically wrong with your child. In addition this massage technique will not be the only form of care that your child will receive as it usually forms part of a wider and more comprehensive medical health care plan that is implemented at a variety of different levels and through a number of different techniques. Baby massage merely facilitates healing and development and is not sufficient to cause either on its own.
Nurses trained in baby massage will have:
- Extensive knowledge on proper massage techniques to use for special medical circumstances.
- Extensive knowledge on proper massage techniques to use for infants with colic.
- Extensive knowledge on proper massage techniques to use for infants who are teething.
- Extensive knowledge on proper massage techniques to use for preterm infants.
- Extensive knowledge on proper massage techniques to use for infants with special needs.
One of the main skills that these nurses possess is an ability to identify the specific needs of a particular child and adjust their approach to the baby massage accordingly in order to ensure that the best level of care possible is being provided for that child. Because each child is unique whether they are healthy or well, they will each need to be treated in a slightly different way. In addition different medical conditions may require different massage methods in order to facilitate recovery or to relieve discomfort or pain experienced by the child.
It is usual for parents to continue massaging their babies once they have gone home, and massage of this kind is beneficial even when your baby is well. Consequently certified baby massage nurses are also closely involved in instructing parents on the proper techniques and strokes to use during a massage so that they can perform the massage themselves in the comfort of their own homes. The nurse should ensure that parents are able to provide their baby with a safe and effective massage at home. From this point of view a baby massage nurse can, then, be seen as an educator, and often they are employed in facilities that specifically offer training to parents in this discipline. As a parent it is important that you pay close attention to what the baby massage nurse has to say as the benefits of baby massage are many. In addition, if your child has an illness or special need of some kind, baby massage may be essential in terms of their treatment plan.
There are a number of certification programs across the US that a nurse with an interest in becoming a baby massage expert can attend. In order to be employed as a baby massage nurse you must be professionally certified in the area of infant massage. This is also necessary in order to teach infant massage to parents, so if you are interested in learning how to massage your child through a baby massage course you should ensure that the instructor has appropriate certification. In order to massage your own child you do not need certification, but you do need to attend training in order to ensure that you do not harm your child and that you exact the maximum amount of benefit from the activity. It is a fairly easy technique and system to learn and you will be able to see the benefits yourself, especially in cases where you have a colic child or one experiencing difficulty in teething.
What you will Learn in Most Baby Massage Classes
There are a number of things that you will learn in most baby massage classes:
- You will learn to communicate better with your child which empowers you as a parent.
- You will learn relaxation techniques and how to help your baby to relax.
- You will learn to incorporate music both through listening and through learning lullabies to sing with your baby as you massage him or her.
- You will learn the critical importance of respectful touch & tactile stimulation.
- You will learn ways to adapt the massage strokes for your child if he or she has special needs.
- You will practice the strokes of infant massage on your baby, while your instructors will usually demonstrate on dolls (generally you will be the only one who will actually touch your baby to massage him or her)
- You will practice massage strokes in class so you can massage your baby at home.
As babies are extremely delicate it is important that you know what you are doing if you plan to give your baby a massage. There are nurses who are strictly trained on how to give babies massages and who are well versed in terms of the many benefits that such massages provide for you and your child. A baby massage course can come in handy particularly if you have adopted an infant child as it serves as a valuable replacement for the mother-infant bonding that occurs during childbirth. More information can be found at www.thenewbornbaby.com, www.ehow.com as well as another www.ehow.com link.