Massage does appear to reduce levels of stress hormones in unsettled babies. Skin-to-skin contact also seems to improve a baby’s health, boost weight gain in premature babies, ease crying, and have a positive effect on the interaction between a mother and her baby. It is worth knowing there is no current evidence supporting infant massage as having a positive effect on babies’ growth or development.
Most babies and toddlers love to be touched gently and soothingly. Massage is another way to communicate with our babies. We focus a lot on voice and eye contact, though touch is another very important means of communication. Massage is a different type of touch to what is involved in feeding and changing. There is no ‘one right way’ to massage a young child. If you are gentle and sensitive to their responses, you will not get it wrong. Sometimes of the day will be better than others to give your child a massage. When they are tired, hungry, cranky, or just unhappy with the world, they will not be as responsive as when they have had all their needs met.
Your mood will have an impact on how effective your massage techniques will be for your young child. Pick a time when you are feeling relaxed and calm, that way, both you and your child will benefit. And One Last Tip on Massage Does not be worried if you need to finish your child’s massage earlier than you had planned. They will let you know when they have had enough. Remember, massage needs to be an enjoyable process from the start to anytime you finish.