Skin to skin, snuggles and naked baby tummies. What’s not to love about baby massage? This year’s latest addition to team Epping Forest Baby is Charlotte Crook, baby massage instructor for Basking Babies. Charlotte explains all about the benefits of baby massage for you and for baby.
Baby massage, is far from ‘new and trendy’ – it has actually been around for centuries. While many Eastern countries have enjoyed baby massage methods which are passed down through generations of mothers, it has taken the Western world a little while longer to catch on – but its benefits are too vast to ignore.
Even those of you who know little about baby massage, could probably think of a couple of reasons why baby massage would be beneficial, but I am here to share with you 9 glorious reasons that will have you searching for you nearest course in minutes;
1. Sleep inducing – yes, you read that correctly through your tired eyes – baby massage not only helps babies to sleep more, but in fact increase the quality of the sleep. Studies have shown that babies who are massaged regularly fell asleep quicker and that massage was more effective at sleep inducing than rocking.
2. Colic – the dreaded colic can strike any baby, meaning persistent crying for around 3-4 hours, usually at a regular time (generally somewhere between 5-9pm) and predominantly affecting babies between 6 weeks and 3 months of age. It can be hard to diagnose the underlying reason for the colic and can therefore be difficult to treat but there are some highly effective specific massage strokes that can instantly help relieve any trapped wind or stools that can be one of the causes of this discomfort and when done regularly can alleviate and prevent colic striking ever again
3. Wind / Congestion – babies often really struggle with wind and congestion. After being fed in the womb and never having to burp or digest milk – their bodies are suddenly expected to do it all and it often creates great discomfort. Specific baby massage moves can target certain parts of the stomach to actually push the wind and stools through the digestive system and out of the body.
4. Weight Gain – many Mums dread the weekly weigh-in clinic through fear their baby has dropped a percentile (despite the fact it can be normal for their weight to fluctuate). Baby massage techniques actually help to tone the muscles in the digestive system allowing their food (milk) to be processed better. Research has proven the phenomenal impact baby massage can have on weight gain, through improving baby’s digestion and metabolism, particularly amongst premature babies.
5. Brain development – amazingly it has been proven that regular massage with baby can in fact enhance cognitive, motor and intellectual abilities. Massage can help to speed up a process known as myelination which effectively insulates the nerve cells, enhancing the brain to body connectivity – clever isn’t it!
6. Skin – nothing quite compares to a new baby’s soft skin, and regular massage will help to stimulate the nerve endings and improve circulation – using organic sunflower oil high in vitamin E will help to provide extra nourishment.
7. Relaxation – a fairly obvious benefit of massage is relaxation. But there is actually some science behind it. Massage reduces the cortisol levels (stress hormones) and increases oxytocin (love hormone) so actually makes baby feel happier and more relaxed.
8. Immune system – There are a range of stress-related illnesses that babies are susceptible to when born such as eczema and asthma, as massage reduces the cortisol levels (stress-hormones) research has shown that these illnesses can be prevented. Massage also increases the production of immunoglobulin which helps to fight infection.
9. Bonding – while for some the bond with baby is instant, for others it is not. Massage enhances that bond utilising all the senses from touch, scent, voice and sight and provides some perfect Mum and baby time.
So there you have it, nine incredible benefits of massage for baby, but don’t forget Mum will be benefiting too from the massage, enhancing the bond with baby, becoming more in tune with their cues and hopefully sleeping more soundly yourself.
As a new Mum myself and fully qualified baby massage instructor I use these tools daily to soothe and relieve my baby and I hope I have inspired you to explore the magical world of massage with your baby.
If you are an expectant or new parent looking for the best start for you and your baby, then find your nearest Basking Babies class and join us to experience the magic of Basking Babies Baby Massage & Baby Yoga for yourself.