Infant Massage: Benefits and Recommendations

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Infant Massage: Benefits and Recommendations

  Autor NN Team Data: 26.03.2009

Infant Massage: Benefits and Recommendations

Baby's massage is an ancient practice used for many years worldwide. Modern medicine has succeeded in proving the benefits of massage, so many parents give more attention to this practice. Studies have shown that premature babies massaged on a regular basis need a reduced hospital stay and that all infants take weight faster and develop better if they are frequently massaged.

It seems easy to be baby. You sleep, eat and play all day. In fact, the reality is different. Baby's life is very stressful and tiring. They must learn when to sleep and when to stay awake. They need to "convince" their fragile neck to support the weight of their little head. They have to bear the light, noise, touching of strangers. Children learn each day much faster than adults, and that means stress. In stressful moments, baby's body releases a hormone called cortisol (stress hormone), which produces those feelings of anxiety that makes it cry. Massage performed on a regular basis reduces the level of cortisol in child's blood, so it will not feel so stressed between two massage sessions. Moreover, during the massage, the body releases endorphins, hormones that give us that good feeling we the adults also feel when we are comforted. Low level of cortisol and increased level of endorphins contribute to the well the baby will feel.

Touching is the most developed sense of a newborn. Therefore, he feels best when you hug or when lying on his daddy's bare chest. Some doctors even consider that the touch of the parents releases growth hormones who help him develop faster. Obviously, massage enhances these effects, as well
as parent-child relationship. In the early days of the baby, a gentle massage can be a perfect way to build a strong relationship between him and Mom or Dad. It helps parents know better their child and the little one to know himself, to 'feel' his body and get used to the touch and feel safe.

Physical benefits of massage are not to be neglected either. It is a way to relax tense muscles of a baby who moves all day, trying to coordinate their movements and to control parts of their body. A baby trains its muscles daily, learning to use them, so they can become very tense. With a simple massage, done in just a few minutes, we help our baby to relax and sleep better after a hectic day.

In addition, massage helps the circulatory system. It is underdeveloped in the newborn and during the period when the child adapts to life outside the womb, hands and legs do not receive an enough strong blood flow. Through massage, the circulatory system becomes stronger.

The same happens with the digestive system. Tummy massage helps regulate digestion, the gas elimination faster and reduces spasms. Your baby will feel better and there is a good chance to avoid colic.

In case of premature babis, massage can be helpful. If your pediatric let you massage your baby, this practice can improve its vital functions and can adjust the breath.

Many moms choose to massage babies after bath when their skin is clean and take advantage of grease with an oil or a moisturizer. The approach is not wrong, but massage can be done anytime the baby is tense, when it cries, has digestive problems (gases, constipation) or when scared, to ensure that the mother is with it.

Read the English version of this article: Infant Massage: Benefits and Recommendations