How to Massage Your Baby
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All babies love massage. However there are peak times to offer a massage and times when baby needs to give permission. Watch The Go-To Mom highlight the benefits of baby massage and communication.


Infant massage Part I Communicating with baby Kimberley Clayton Blaine: Infant massage develops the expression of our first language, touch. It provides the time of day when the parent is totally focused on the baby and is directly communicating love, caring and respect. It's important for baby to learn to communicate not only verbally but non-verbally with their caregivers. Infant massage not only promotes bonding and attachment between baby and caregiver but also improves circulation and digestion. Gentle nurturing and loving touch can reduce fussiness and teach baby how to relax and therefore improve sleeping. It also increases the sense of well-being and just feeling loved. Nora recommends holding newborns in your arms. So they feel safe and secure during their massage. When massaging your baby, be sure to have lots of pillows that they can snuggle up against. So they feel safe and secure and ready for their massage, this position is for a three to six-month-old. Nora recommends for the baby six months and older to let them squirm around and just massage wherever you can and just enjoy the experience of your movable, mobile child. Nora Oppenheimer: Just focus. Female Speaker: And he has a full stomach. Nora Oppenheimer: Okay, well that's actually a really great time to massage him based upon the cues he gives because you never want to really massage a baby when they are asleep because we can't ask permission when they are asleep and when they are more active and in the fussy stage that's usually the time where they just want to be held closed. But when they have the active alert or quite alert which is making eye contact, little bit of playfulness or just sort of that sort of little Buddha watching type of energy, those were the alertness that you want to be. How does that feel? We can just put warm our hands and put nice strong hands on the belly, and see what the response is. So at this time, is a good time to see the baby feeling calm, feeling like there is an invitation to continue. So one of the most important thing in infant massage is asking permission. Part of what we are doing here is learning to understand the non-verbal cues of the baby. So put oil on your hands and you can rub your hands together. So you are using sound and voice and eye contact to ask permission. Would you like a massage? How would you like a massage? Female Speaker: Would you like a massage? Nora Oppenheimer: Pay attention to what cues you are getting and lightly rub the temples with the oil. See what the babies response for that is. Infant Massage - Part 2 Nora Oppenheimer: We need to keep in mind that the feet can be very sensitive that the babies are often -- and then you may have had a lot of heel breaks. So sometimes it's not comfortable. They pull their feet away, we respect that. Let them pull their feet away and then more gently come in and just hold the feet and we can do something called inviting relaxation. You invite him for relaxation, just bounce the feet a little bit and say, can you relax your leg. Female Speaker: Relax your leg, very relaxed. Nora Oppenheimer: And it's good to ask in a question form because one of the things that we are doing is we are learning how to speak to babies in a respectful way, in a way that they can actually answer us with their cues. So when you ask the question, you are developing a pattern of giving choices that's can come in really handy when they are older. Female Speaker: So how does that feel, can you relaxed your leg? Nora Oppenheimer: Go away from the heart and those invite a lot of relaxation and sometimes we are going to do some strokes that go towards the heart and that is more stimulating. So you can keep these things in mind, say at bedtime you might want to stay away from the stimulating strokes. On the other hand, stimulation helps infant brain development. So it's a good idea to do both depending on where the babies are and what the baby is saying. We are going to start with Indian milking. You have one leg in your hand and you just keep it supported right under the knee and the calf and start up at the hip and over the hip and right down the bottom. How does that feel? You like that? Up and over the hip and right down the bottom, you can use both hands if you want depending on the size of your baby. The little baby, you may only use two fingers, it's a bigger baby or a child you are going to do use, may want to stroke in a couple of strokes. So you just go ahead and feel it, it's your experience with your baby, or the baby that you are giving care to. Do that a couple of times and then we are going to go over and take the other leg and do the same thing. Be very gentle. Remember not to use very deep pressure, right down. Indian milking comes from East India which is where massage originated and where they massaged their babies everyday. Now we are going to do a move called squeeze and twist. You take the leg that you started with, then squeeze and twist, we put our hands over this way and we just squeeze and twist very lightly you can use more oil if you want. Might be a good time for more oil. How does that feel baby, do you like that feeling? Feel good to your leg? Female Speaker: Do you like that? I can feel. Nora Oppenheimer: Keep in mind if there are any signs that it doesn't feel good we can just stop or we can just hold the leg. But if they like it, we just continue. Looks like your baby wants to interact touching his legs.