A Playful Approach To Baby Massage
We firmly believe that touch is a gift that all parents can give their children – and what a gift!
Did you know that touch helps develop healthy functioning connections between the mind, body, and emotions? It also releases tension and aids those happy hormones, endorphins – plus it helps with muscle tone and spatial awareness, and can give low birth weight or special needs babies a boost.
No wonder people talk about the ‘miracle of touch’!
If you think about it, it isn’t such a strange concept: strangers are drawn to stroke your pregnancy belly in the shops(!), family members holding Baby’s hand and tickling her tummy, those glorious hours spent cuddling – when it comes to babies, touch is one of the most natural things in the world. Think about how much you communicate through touch every day; squeezing a loved one’s hand, offering a sympathetic pat on the shoulder – of course, touch should form part of how we communicate with Baby too. Through touch, we can communicate love; that’s why therapeutic massage is often prescribed for babies who had a traumatic birth, or who are premature or in the Neonatal ICU. It even helps with everyday concerns like allergies, colic, and sleep problems!
Something so powerful can be a bit daunting – where do you start? Well, baby massage is very effective – read our baby massage blog to help you get started – but you can also simply incorporate touch into Baby’s daily routine. Nappy changing time? Give her a quick rub. Midnight feeds? Extra cuddle time! Work touch into Baby’s sleep routine to help her relax: rub her tummy or back, and stroke her head and face while singing to her softly.
Of course, one of the most physical times in Baby’s day is playtime – so have some fun with touch! Play games that focus on different areas of the body; by the end of the week, Baby will have had a full body massage.
Our five favourite games are:
- Playing ‘farmyard’ on Baby’s arms and legs – let the horse ‘trot’ along Baby’s legs, or ‘milk the cow’ along her arms
- Turning your fingers into a fairy ‘walking’ around on Baby’s tummy and chest
- Riding bicycle with Baby’s legs – don’t forget to check the ‘pedals’ and massage her feet before you get started
- Count Baby’s fingers with your thumbs, moving from the palm of her hand all the way to the tip of each finger
- Play ‘This little piggy’ with Baby’s toes
You’ll soon learn Baby’s preferences – why not make up your own games too? Touch is one of the simplest and most effective parenting tools: embrace it (literally)!