Research over the years has shown how important the bonding process is between parent and child. While it has been a natural process since time began, Drs Marshall H. Klaus and John H. Kennell brought the concept into the public eye in the 1980s.

Bonding begins in the womb and ideally continues after birth to ensure that baby develops emotionally and physically. Baby or infant massage is a gentle and enjoyable way to maintain this bond and promote a wealth of benefits.

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Nurturing touch between parent and child has always been an essential part of the bonding process. Long before our children can speak we communicate instinctively through touch, smell and sight. When our child is hurt, we soothe the pain through touching the area. When we feel love or wish to feel close, we embrace or hold hands. And when we want to give our full attention to something, we maintain eye contact.

Baby or Infant Massage is simply an extension of this.

From East to West

Although it is difficult to establish exactly where infant massage originated from, it is now practiced across the world and both parents and health professionals are recognising the power of positive touch to enhance the wellbeing of our children.

In India massage for babies is passed down through the generations from mother to daughter and is an established part of the family routine. In western society the art of baby massage is more commonly taught in a class environment and this has its own benefits. As family groups become more spread geographically and new parents more isolated the massage class takes on the role of peer support and advice as well as a practical way to learn the techniques.

The Feel Good Factor

Massaging your baby will bring many benefits to both of you, both physically and emotionally. The physical act of massage releases oxytocin ? the ?feel good hormone? ? in both of you increasing your sense of well being and happiness. Breathing is slowed, the body relaxes and the heart rate normalises.

Stimulating the skin through touch provides a trigger to the nervous and circulatory systems and the application of organic cold pressed oils nourish the skin. Relief from distressing conditions such as colic, wind, constipation and teething pains can be achieved through applied massage techniques which mean less crying, less fussing and more settled babies.

A regularly massaged baby will:

  • Cry less and be more content
  • Sleep better, for longer and be generally more settled
  • Suffer less from infections and pain associated with distressing conditions such as colic, wind, constipation and teething
  • Enjoy a deeper connection with their parent or carer
  • Have improved communication skills with the ability to read non verbal signals and body language
  • Develop faster and stronger
  • Benefit from improved flexibility and muscle tone from the stimulation and stretches performed during a massage routine
  • Have better conditioned skin if organic oils are also used.

For the parent or carer:

  • The risk of post natal depression is reduced
  • An increase in confidence of touching and handling of their baby is experienced
  • The connection between them and baby is strengthened
  • The delight of having a happier and healthier baby is enjoyed

Most parents who use massage as part of the care for their baby will notice great benefits for them and their little one, but for those who haven?t experienced it first hand, there are naturally some questions…

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