With a baby massage, you do your child and yourself something very good. During the massage, you are especially close to your child, thus contributing to an intense bond between child and parent.
Baby massage – traditional healing art for a healthy development of your baby
The roots of baby massage are in India and come from the tradition of Ayurvedic medicine. In Ayurveda, the message form is called “Kumara Abhyangha” and has long been practiced by the Indian mothers. It found its way to Europe in the 1970s through the French gynecologist Frédérick Leboyer, who is considered the founder of soft birth medicine in Western countries.
The baby massage is directly linked to the prenatal experiences of the baby: Through the movements of the pregnant women, the baby is pressed into the belly of his mother, which he perceives as a gentle massage especially in the last months of pregnancy. Leboyer assumes that the baby misses these touches after birth.
With the baby massage, you can start very early. According to Frédérick Leboyer, babies aged four to six weeks up to half a year are the actual target group of the message, in the broader sense, even toddlers can benefit from it until the age of two.
A message satisfies the basic needs for warmth, love, and security. Child psychologists believe that having an intense physical contact in early childhood helps children later develop strong self-esteem, inner security, and attachment-which you should not absolutize.
The sooner you start, the faster your baby gets used to the regular massage sessions. If your child is already older and is already in the “discovery stage,” this familiarization often already much heavier – which, among other things, speaks for the fact that Leboyer is right with his direct connection of prenatal experience and early physical sensations of the baby.
Massage promotes the development of sensibility of the child. It provides relaxation and balance, helps fight restlessness and flatulence, and also helps prevent various conditions: it strengthens the immune system, improves blood circulation and intensifies breathing, which, for example, effectively reduces the susceptibility to respiratory diseases.The health-promoting effect of the baby massage has been proven by various studies. Also, coordination and perception skills are promoted, the muscles relaxed and the development of a positive body awareness supported. Supportive is mild baby oils, and maybe soft music in the background – your baby and you will enjoy the message with all your senses.
Sensual pleasure and close bond for mothers – and for fathers
From the point of view of doctors, a baby massage can also be beneficial for the mother: midwives and gynecologists recommend them among other things in postnatal depression- the intense body and eye contact with the child, gentle speech and being together in a very intimate “protected” space break inner Voltage states on.
Even for fathers, regular massages can be a good way to build an intense bond with their baby – in the first months of life of the child, they are often too short – the massage allows a togetherness that belongs only to them and their child.
What is important for the baby massage
A baby massage should initially take between two and 15 minutes. For older children, you can gradually increase the time to 30 to 45 minutes. It is important that you are relaxed and in the right mood at the time of the message.
The condition of your baby also plays a role. If your child struggles wildly, is tense or does not feel well, then it’s better to postpone the message to another time. If it is crying during the massage, stop first.
If it does not calm down and the message obviously does not enjoy, you should not force anything – after all, a baby massage should be no annoying routine for the child, but a sensual and emotional highlight.
It is best if you massage your baby at a time between his meals, which is not too close to his usual bedtime. The child is ideally neither too hungry, too full or already sleepy. If it is already tired, it may be stimulated too much by the massage, and it will be hard to find rest afterward.
For older children, a baby massage may also be part of the nightly ritual at bedtime – perhaps before or after a warm bath and before the evening meal.
Your baby will be massaged in a warm room where there is no draft. The child lies on a folded sheet, a towel, and a comfortable base. A fan heater or a heat lamp may provide additional warmth and comfort.
If you use a massage oil, a moisturizer or lotion, your baby will find it particularly pleasant, for example, mild vegetable oils or coconut oil. Not suitable are hydrous creams and preparations that contain mustard oil or unrefined peanut oil, which can irritate the delicate baby skin.
Gentle petting for your baby
During the baby massage, gently stroke your baby’s body with gentle, rhythmic movements. Also, fingers and toes, as well as wrists and ankles, are included in the message. The process could be like this:
- By rubbing between your palms, warm a small amount of oil, lotion or cream, which you then gently massage into your baby’s skin with circular motions.
- They start at the feet and legs of your child and then work towards the arms, hands and upper body. To get used to it, you can initially limit the message to the lower extremities as well.
- On the arms and legs, you change at regular intervals between circular movements and gentle pressure. Press your thumbs on the soles of the baby.
- To massage your chest and stomach, place your hands flat in the middle of the body and gently brush aside.
It is highly recommended always to follow the same sequence when the message is over – your baby usually enjoys the familiar routine especially strongly. If you want professional help for learning the right massage technique, your after-care midwife will be pleased to assist you.
Some clinics and birthing centers also offer baby massage lessons. Also, instructions from the Internet also provide good assistance. As a general rule, as long as you gently massage your baby while paying attention to his reactions, you can hardly make any serious mistakes in the baby massage. So – massage and enjoy!