Baby Massage: An Irreplaceable Bond between Parents and the Little One
Oleh: Morinaga Platinum
Parents often experience situations where the Little One becomes irritable when placed on the bed, but their cry immediately turns into a smile when parents lift them up and carry them. The touch of their parents calms them. Imagine the benefits experienced by the Little One when they are massaged.
Many studies have demonstrated the benefits of baby massage, which include reducing discomfort and irritability, helping the Little One to sleep more soundly, and reducing the risk of constipation and colic pain. “When babies are massaged, their central nervous system is stimulated. This is the start of a chain reaction: massage helps the brain of the Little One to produce more serotonin hormone. As a result, the heartbeat of the Little One slowly reduces, along with their breathing rate. They eventually become more relaxed,” explains Tiffany Field, PhD, head of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine.
Baby massage can also stimulate the release of oxytocin hormone, which leads to feelings of happiness and being loved. In addition, baby massage can strengthen the bond between parents and the Little One by conveying affection through touch and skin-to-skin contact. This is beneficial for mothers who experience baby blues or postpartum depression, to be able to attach themselves to the Little One.
In a study by Field TM, premature infants who are given massage stimulations show a 47 percent higher increase in body weight compared to those who are not given stimulations. Baby massages are thought to have an effect on the increased activities of the vagal nervous system and stomach movements, making nutritional absorption more efficient.
Massaging the Little One should be gently done by parents. When massaging them, parents can talk or sing to them, so that the Little One feels more comfortable and happy in that moment. What are the things that need to be prepared and what type of massage can be done by the parents for the Little One? Some explanations are provided below.
Ensure that the massage session is conducted in a comfortable room that is not too cold and has a calm atmosphere. Prepare equipments such as baby mat, oil, (it is recommended to use oils that are safe to consume, such as olive oil or vegetable oil), and diapers.
- Legs. Pour some oil into your hand, rub until it feels warm, and then begin to gently massage their right thigh towards the calf and ankle. Do this several times and repeat with the left leg.
- Stomach. Place your hands close to the navel and rub your fingertips around in a clockwise manner. Repeat several times.
- Arms. Begin with the upper arm and move towards the wrist. When reaching the wrist, gently rub around this area several times. Then, massage their palms using your thumbs.
- Chest. Place both hands above the heart of the Little One and gently massage outwards. Repeat this movement several times.
With the various benefits of baby massage, there is no harm to try it. Turn the massage session into an intimate moment with the Little One, which will strengthen the bond between you and them.