Massage your way to infant and toddler development

Having a new baby is without a doubt one of the most rewarding (and challenging) times in a new parents life. Infant massage can be done on premature infants, full-term infants and as a wonderful way to bond with an adopted child. It is never too late to start massaging a child. Always check with your pediatrician before starting any program.

If our babies could speak words to us, it might sound like this…

“That feels good……keep doing it!”

Infant massage is a wonderful way to teach our children how to relax. It is also calming for parents. Conditioned relaxation response (CRR) can be elicited through gentle touch and tapping before or during the massage. Often, babies will respond during massage with focused eye-to-eye contact (entertainment) and cooing, their form of communication (or speaking). Parents can feel rewarded with these simple yet powerful infant responses.

“I’m still developing!”

Developmentally, an infant is not fully complete at birth. Nervous system pathways are still being refined and developed. Infant massage sparks the neurons in their brains to grow and branch out to encompass other neurons. Massage also provides essential indicators of intimate parent-infant bonding and attachment like eye-to-eye, touch, voice, smell, movement, and thermal regulation.

“I hear you and I’m listening”

Infant massage promotes connections with infants through “mother-ese” or the high-pitched voice often used to communicate and soothe a newborn. A mother or father’s voice can be instrumental in laying the groundwork for language development and early speech patterns. Speaking with our children throughout the day will also strengthen this development.

“Help me get that bubble out!”

Physiological benefits are numerous and include a reduction in anxiety for both parents and baby. Massage also helps eliminate excessive gas, reduces constipation and colic.  It also improves circulation and overall immune system function. Additionally, it reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.

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