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Entries in baby massage (4)

Tuesday
Oct182011

6 reasons baby massage might be stressful instead

If you lack confidence or want to meet some other mums you can do a baby massage course but to be totally honest with you, it's really not that hard to learn how to give your baby massage. The most important thing is staying in touch with your baby emotionally, your baby will tell you exactly what they like and what they don't.

You should both really enjoy baby massage. If you aren't enjoying it you and your baby just won't get the benefits! Don't feel obligated or pressured to massage your baby, or do it just cause the clock says 6pm and it's part of the prescribed bed time routine.

Some babies don't like massage at first. Maybe it is too stimulating or they don't like being undressed or unswaddled. If your baby just isn't into it leave it and try again tomorrow. In my experience most babies grow to love massage if you persevere, but don't force it.

Here are a few things to look for if you aren't feeling confident:

If baby is enjoying the massage:

If baby is not enjoying the massage:

Eye contact

Smiling

Looking at the parent’s face

Making babbling or cooing sounds

Smooth movements of arms and/or legs

  

Pulling away

Frowning or grimacing

Turning the head away

Arching the back or squirming

Crying

Flailing movements of arms and/or legs 

 

A few reasons baby massage can be stressful include:

  1. Baby may be too hungry or too full. Wait awhile after a big feed to massage your baby or they may feel uncomfortable, likewise don't wait till your baby is starving.
  2. Baby may be too tired. Often we do baby massage at bedtime, but sometimes this is the most difficult time of day to do anything with a newborn. If an evening massage just isn't working for you try it first thing in the day when your baby is fresh.
  3. Baby may be too cold. Read this post for the five warms of baby massage.
  4. Baby may be overstimulated by new senses. If it's been a busy day and the baby has already had lots of new experiences to adjust too just leave it and try again tomorrow.
  5. Massage maybe too long, in my experience this is one of the most common mistakes new mums make when massaging their babies. Five minutes may be enough for a newborn, even if they totally love it they may have had enough by then.
  6. You are stressed out. Hormones are contagious, so if you aren't feeling totally loved up and relaxed you're baby won't either.

I still massage my toddler and she even massages me back now!!! I hope this post helps you enjoy baby massage and you will experience long lasting benefits for you and your baby.

Thursday
Jul212011

Which oil should you massage your baby with?

Ayurveda suggests that you shouldn't put anything on your skin that isn't good enough to eat! I love this idea of the skin as a digestive organ and it narrows down your massage oil options immensly. It also explains why we should never, never use mineral oil for massage. Mineral Oil is a highly processed by-product of petroleum and aside from being something you definately would NOT eat, it blocks natural skin secretions and stops the skin from regulating temperature.

Any oil used on a baby is best organic, extra virgin and cold pressed. To keep it simple I'll only suggest three oils and you can choose what works for your baby. As with everything in the world there is a small risk of allergy.

Here is an Ayurvedic description of four massage oils.

  1. Sesame oil is the most clasical Ayurvedic massage oil, particularly black sesame if you have access to it. It is the only oil to penetrate all seven tissues. It's hot and heavy qualities are very grounding and nourishing, but may be imbalancing if Kapha or Pitta is high.
  2. Olive oil is one of my favourites because very high quality olive oil is so readily available. It is not as heavy as sesame oil and is cooling, so very useful for babies with any kind of hot red rash. Allergy is very rare.
  3. Sunflower oil is a light, cool oil that suits all Ayurvedic constitutions. It is not as rich and nourishing but it is high in essential fatty acids and Vit E. It is most useful for a Kapha baby.

Store oil out of direct sunlight, in a dark glass bottle in a cool place.

 

Wednesday
Apr202011

The five warms of baby massage

New babies are so sensitive to the cold. Here are five warms to prepare you for a beautiful baby massage.

Warm room.

Prepare a room without drafts by heating with an oil heater or similiar. A little warmer than room temperature is lovely. If you're not sure how warm take your own clothes off too!

Warm bath.

Start running the bath before you begin. A bathroom is a great place to give baby massage, and running the bath will have the bonus of steaming up the room.

Warm oil.

If your massage oil is in a small plastic bottle put the whole bottle of oil in bowl of hot water for a few minutes. Otherwise pour enough oil for one massage into a tiny bowl, then put that bowl inside a slightly larger bowl of hot water. Test it on your skin.

Warm hands.

Rub them together with warm oil and make sure your fingernails are trimmed.

Warm heart.

Don't worry about doing it 'right' just enjoy.

Thursday
Jan062011

7 reasons to massage your baby

Most parents don't need much convincing but here are seven reasons to massage your baby:

  1. Parents and babies both enjoy massage and it's a really good way for the whole family to relax. It's a really nice break from the endless feed, burp, change, sleep cycle.
  2. Promotes long and deep sleep, I have to admit it never worked for my baby but it's certainly worth a try.
  3. Baby massage makes a really lovely wind down routine at the end of the day. My toddler still asks me to give her a foot and neck rub when she is having a hard time going to sleep.
  4. Reduces crying. Improves colic, reflux and constipation and calms irritable or stressed babies
  5. Boosts a baby’s Serotonin levels which is known to reduce the risks of SIDS
  6. Boosts mother and baby oxytocin levels through skin to skin contact
  7. A beautiful way for dads to spend intimate and quality time with their babies. In the meantime mum can have a sleep or a shower or something to eat.
  8. Improves weight gain for premature babies.
  9. Improves left and right brain communication which increases intelligence.