Updated 01 September 2015

Why you should massage your baby

Massaging your baby is a wonderful way of making special time for him/her, and a good way to strengthen your bond.

In today’s hectic schedule and busy routine, it is the best tool to feel empowered as a parent, and to do something real for your baby.

Infant massage is a loving, nurturing touch, a special, intimate time with your baby. Babies are massaged in many cultures from birth as part of the daily baby care routine.

The benefits are unlimited, but to name a few:

Relaxation: both mother and baby relax and experience the joy of being close together for a view minutes. Being touched helps your baby release any tension and reduces the level of stress hormones.

Immune system: massage reduces stress levels and –hormones and the body becomes less vulnerable to disease.

Nervous system: promotes maturity of the nervous system and stimulates all the senses.

Respiratory system: opens the baby’s chest, promotes deep and rhythmic breathing.

Digestive system: promotes blood flow to the stomach area, it increases peristalsis and promotes digestion and elimination by moving waste products along the digestive tract.

Endocrine system: balances stress hormone levels and increases growth hormones.

Circulatory system: improves blood circulation, supply of oxygen and nutrients to the cells and more effective removal of waste products. It promotes muscle suppleness and speeds up healing processes. Also the best remedy for cold hands and feet.

Relief of various problems: like colic, constipation, teething and sleeping problems. Loving touch is extremely important for premature babies and special needs children/babies. It offers an alternative to the pill-popping habit, has no side effects and can only do well.

Interaction and bonding: massage promotes bonding and helps with positive association of touch. It is a wonderful way of interacting and creates space for talking and sharing when he is able to verbalise his feelings.

Benefits for parents: massaging your baby increases your self-confidence in the handling and care of your baby and creates a stron bond. Touching your baby increases your own levels of prolactin, which strengthens your parenting instinct, and makes you fall in love with your child all over again. It also helps to relieve postnatal depression. Massaging your baby frequently increases your awareness and understanding of your baby’s cues, helping you understand his body language.

It is important to be instructed by a Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI) on how to massage your baby, as you have someone who can watch if you do it correctly. The CIMI also teaches the parents coping skills and how to understand a crying baby.

Sr Ida Pretorius, B.Cur (RAU), International Qualified Infant Massage Instructor, Private Practitioner, Antenatal Teacher, Childbirth Companion


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