by Angie Sutliff
All parents want their babies to sleep better, cry less, and grow steadily. Some would say this is the formula for a happy, healthy family. Unfortunately, these things can be very elusive when it comes to infants. It’s common to hear parents talk about struggling with limited sleep, incessant crying spells, and tummy troubles.
Infant massage is an age-old tradition practiced throughout the world, proven to reduce and sometimes resolve these frequent parenting woes. The top benefits of learning to massage your baby include stimulation, relaxation, relief, and bonding.
A common concern for babies, especially preemies, is weight gain. Through regular massage, babies show improved weight gain because of growth hormone stimulation. The brain is stimulated also, aiding strong mental development. Other benefits are increased immune function and increased oxygen to all parts of the body. In addition to these, babies are very alert and responsive during the massage, which adds to your bonding experience.
Since all the organ systems are stimulated during a massage, it also helps digestion. Tummy trouble is a common source of crying and discomfort for babies. Those who receive regular massages are reportedly less fussy and show less stress behavior. Babies experiencing constipation or gas can find relief. This helps everyone involved—it reduces stress and creates a time for a special connection between you and your baby. Let’s face it, there are lots of ways to define relief. Less crying is certainly one of them.
Time to relax is something parents lack in those early months with the new baby. Massaging your baby provides the space for you both to slow down, breathe deeply, and release tension. It’s easy to incorporate into the daily routine and takes only about 20 minutes. Whether you’re a working parent coming from work to baby care at the end of a long day, or an at-home parent who just needs a few minutes of downtime, massage is helpful. It also promotes deeper, better sleep cycles.
Bonding between you and your baby is so important. Those first months set the stage for trust, security, and building relationships in the family. Baby massage provides for good eye contact, communication, and positive interactions. Babies are said to smile sooner and more frequently and develop strong attachments when regularly massaged. But babies aren’t the only ones to benefit from this. Taking that time to focus on your baby through massage is beneficial for you also, especially if baby blues are an issue.
Getting a baby to sleep, grow, and relax are often among parents’ top concerns. Learning infant massage is an easy, effective way to manage these issues and bring peace to the home. It is an investment of time with your baby that has lifelong benefits.
Angie Sutliff, Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI) email@example.com