Infant Massage is a wonderful way to bond and interact with your baby. Mothers instinctively massage their baby from the moment they are born through gentle touch and rubbing. It helps the body adjust to the stimulation of a world full of noises, lights, movement and clamor with curiosity, not fear. Its benefits go far beyond the immediate physiological gains. As you massage your baby regularly, you will discover that you develop a bond with your child that will last a lifetime!
Vimala McClure, the founder of the International Association of Infant Massage, created massage routines specific for the infant that enables a parent to connect with their baby while reaping the physiological benefits of touch and massage. As a parent, it is vital to feel secure in your own ability to do something positive for this sweet little newborn that suddenly was placed in your care. Infant Massage is not a therapy "that you do to your baby; it is a deep communication art that you do with your baby." - Vimala McClure. Infant massage has been a way to learn to touch our babies and to become comfortable with touch in general.
So what do you need to consider before starting Infant Massage with your Baby?
What Oil Do I Use?
- cold pressed, UNscented fruit and/or vegetable oil - a food product that nourishes the skin; vitamin E enhanced. During my classes I use organic sunflower oil which is a light natural oil.
- stay away from mass-produced, heavily advertised "baby oils" (mineral oils)
When is a Good Time and Place?
- experiment with works best for you and baby
- generally mornings are a good time to begin after you both have been fed
- advantages to afternoon and evening massages
- before or after a bath
- before a nap if baby does not get too stimulated
- consider your schedule; do you work outside the home?
What Should the Environment be Like?
- always massage in a warm, quiet place
- ideally, your baby is naked for the massage
- turn off electronic devices and focus on your baby without the interruptions
How do I Position Myself and My Baby?
- find a comfortable sitting position as most of your movement comes from your lower back
- you can sit on the floor or on the bed
- position baby in front of you on a pillow
- bring baby as close to you as possible
- baby should be propped to be able to make eye contact
How Much Pressure?
- gentle but firm strokes
- comfortable but stimulating
- avoid fluttery, poking, or tickling touch
- whole hand molding to the baby's body
Now you are ready to explore Infant Massage with your baby! Go build your bond and connection!
If you want to learn more about Infant Massage and learn from me, a Certified Infant Massage Instructor, I offer one-on-one sessions as well as group sessions. You can also get started with Vimala McClure's easy-to-follow instructions and photographs from her book.
I have read a lot of developmental books throughout my career... A LOT! When I became certified as an Infant Massage Instructor, I was introduced to Vimala McClure's work. So needless to say, I especially enjoy her book Infant Massage A Handbook for Loving Parents not only because it walks you through the strokes for Infant Massage, but she comforts you as a parent to stay true to yourself and your baby. She encourages you to make decisions that make you feel like a good parent, instead of simply going with what your parents tell you or with the current cultural flow. I highly recommend her BOOK!
"Spoil your children with the indulgence of your touch. Perhaps there is nothing quite so personal and intimate as the gift of infant massage. Like parenthood in general, infant massage enriches the parent as well as the baby. It establishes a tradition of touch that will enhance your relationship with your child for years to come." - Peggy O'Mara