Parenting

Massaging Your Baby Has Lifelong Benefits

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Ever since Kourtney Kardashian posted images of her darling son, Mason, getting a massage, mothers everywhere have been curious to find out more. Lo and behold, massaging your baby has lifelong benefits. It will improve your child’s muscular coordination, circulation, and immune system. Keeping your baby calm and relaxed can also help fight ailments like insomnia and teething, providing natural pain killers.

I attended a baby massage class this week at Om Aroma & Co. in the Limelight Market Place in NYC, which by the way, is gorgeous! Last time I went to Limelight, I was 18, wearing a midriff shirt, white pants, and platform boots…yeah, how times have changed! They really made this bass-pumping night scene into a serenity haven from the bustling New York streets during the day.

The moms who attended the session learned how to bond with their baby using massage strokes from the Loving Touch Parent-Infant Massage Program. Here are six steps to create a calm and relaxing environment in which you and your baby can bond:

Step #1: Prepare a warm bath and put a little baby oil into the bath for soothing hydration. The lavender essential oils are calming and relaxing.

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Step #2: Light a lavender or peppermint aromatherapy candle and dim the lights.

Step #3: While holding your baby in between your legs, take the Manuka Honey Sugar Scrub and exfoliate your arms, neck and chest. Dip yourself into the tub and let the sugar crystals and honey melt onto you and your baby for soft skin.

Step #4: Have your partner take your baby and carefully get out of the tub. Be very mindful to not slip because of the oils at the bottom of your tub. (Clean your tub thoroughly after the bath).

Step #5: While your baby is wrapped in a warm towel, take some Creme Eclat and massage it into your skin. It will melt instantly into your skin, giving you the nourishing vitamins that your skin need.

Step #6: Perform the baby massage!

With the demonstration of massages being done on a baby doll, mothers were able to follow along with their own babies.  Of course a couple of the babies were crying in the beginning, but once they got acclimated with their surroundings, they were relaxed and enjoying their massage.

The sequence of strokes started at the legs, working their way up to the stomach, chest, arms, hands, face and then back.  The Loving Touch program notes to only do the baby massage as long as the infant is interested.  Read your baby cues.    Here’s an example of a few strokes:

LEGS & FEET

Indian Milking – of the whole leg from the upper thigh to ankle -

Gliding: Away from the heart. Use the entire palmar surface of the hands. Make the hand like the letter “C” and with the thumbs facing downward wrap the fingers around the leg and glide outward in long sweeping strokes towards the foot.

TUMMY: (massage on empty stomach if possible)

Paddling Downward – Petrisage: Placing the palms of your hands on the baby’s abdomen, make scooping strokes downward, stopping above the pubic area. This resembles a water wheel going round and round. Note: Placement of hands is below the sternum. No pressure should be applied to the xiphoid process.

CHEST:

Heart of Love – Effleurage: Stroking up the sternum around the top of the chest and down in a heart shape movement being careful of the xiphoid process. The pads of the fingers may extend over the tops of the shoulders and around the sides of the ribs. Repeat this movement several times.  Note: Pay attention to your breathing and the child’s breathing.

BACK:

Sweeping the Back – motion from the top of the shoulders to the buttocks -

Effleurage: Place one hand, grasping the buttocks with your fingers and thumb, while the other hand flattens and glides down the back over the top of your base hand. The lower hand supports the base of the spine.

They also provided stretching exercises and baby yoga. Here are a couple:

Hug-A-Baby -

Joint Movements: Right arm, left arm, hug myself. Stretch the arms across the chest and gently press into your baby’s body.

Tummy Knee Press – Cup hands around knees

Joint Movements: Press the knees into the tummy and hold around 3-5 seconds.

After watching these babies get rubbed, loved, and some – I was ready for a massage! These were some of the products suggested to use during the massage: