As soon as the baby is born, baby massages can be applied to him or her; however you must be careful and not touch the navel area. You must wait 4-7 days until their umbilical cord stump falls off. Based on scientific research, massaging premature babies has enormous benefits for them. Premature babies have their pulse rates increased when they are taken care of regularly at the hospital. Their oxygen levels decreases as well, meaning there is distress. Massaging a premature baby can greatly lower their pulses rates and increases their oxygen levels. This means that the baby finds massaging soothing, relaxing and calming.
Warm rooms are ideal for baby massages. Twenty six degrees is a good room temperature for the baby. Babies lose a lot of heat very quickly when they are uncovered and applying oil on them will also lower their body heat even more.
The area where you massage your baby should be peaceful and quiet. Turn off the TV and make sure that no one in the room is loud or causing interruption. In doing so, both the parent(s) and their baby will greatly enjoy the massage. As well, with no interruptions, the parent(s) can focus 100% on their baby and their baby can focus 100% on their parents. This will greatly strengthen the bond between them.
Best Time for Baby Massages
Usually, the best time to massage a baby is when they are happy and awake. Many people massage their babies after a good bath, or even before one to get the baby all relaxed. The parent must be calm as well when they are performing baby massages. If they aren't, there's a chance the baby will absorb the negative emotions the parent is feeling and they might get hurt.
It is highly recommended to not massage a baby after they have eaten. It is best to wait an hour or so later, otherwise it might cause vomiting. Also, make sure that your baby is well fed before you massage them. If they are hungry when you are massaging them, this might make them feel more unsettled and stressed.
Length of a Baby Massage
Baby massages tend to last about 20 minutes to 30 minutes. Babies are not very large, so massaging them is easy and quick. If you are just starting, it might take a bit longer because it takes time to learn the techniques and getting used to. You can practice and learn more of the techniques by enrolling into baby massage classes. Usually they can be found in nurseries or sometimes even in some hospitals. If you cannot find any classes, you can always look for books, DVDs and videos. There are a dozen out there detailing the many types of massages you can give your baby and the benefits of them.
How Often to Give Baby Massages
Baby massages should be given daily with each session lasting 20-30 minutes. Even 15 minutes will be beneficial for the parent and the baby. If you cannot massage your baby on a daily basis, you can massage your baby 3 times a week.
Massages should be applied on the baby's bare skin. Oil can be used to help the hands move more smoothly throughout the baby's body without any friction. Oils such as grape-seed, almond, and extra virgin olive oil are natural oils and are easily absorbed by the baby's skin.
When massaging a baby, the pressure you should apply is very similar to when you close your eyes and press them together (without any discomfort). When massaging small areas on the baby's body, use your finger tips; when massaging large areas (chest and back), you should use your palms.
- Make sure to be careful when you are picking up your baby when they are oiled up
- Avoid using essential or aromatherapy oils unless you are properly trained or have a aromatherapist with you
- If you believe that your child is allergic to nuts, you can use nut oil free products
Next article will be on some massaging techniques that you can use on your baby.