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To our hardworking mamas out there, are you ready for some well-deserved relaxation? We know taking care of your little one is a full time job, but did you know that there’s a way to get a spa day in with your baby? That’s right, press play on your go-to chill playlist and put on your favorite pair of sweats, it’s time to talk baby massages.
Baby massages have incredible benefits for baby development, and can also be a way to spend some high quality mama-baby bonding time! Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of a baby massage, and how to start.
There’s nothing better than a cozy cuddle session to grow closer with your baby. Research shows that eye contact and skin-to-skin contact can help strengthen your mama-baby bond. Plus, baby massages have proven to reduce parental stress between baby and dad. Fuel this bonding time by turning your massages into a weekly routine. Lay your baby on their tummy and sustain eye contact as you help them relax.
Did you know physical touch sparks the release of endorphins? This in turn reduces stress hormones, sending you and your baby into a state of relaxation. If your baby is more fussy than normal, you may try a massage to help them destress.
Good sleep is crucial for baby development. As stress hormones decrease during a massage, the production of melatonin increases. Not only will babies be less stressed, but they will sleep better as a result. Plus, you may get an extra hour or two of that much needed beauty sleep!
If your baby is experiencing stomach issues, gently massaging the area with warm hands is often a great substitute for medication. If your little one doesn’t like their belly rubbed, you can also move their legs up and down to help create some movement in their intestines. Baby massages are also known to soothe babies with colic or gas. While massages can soothe stomach issues, they may not always be the right treatment. If your baby continues to show signs of pain while eating or projectile vomiting, you may consider consulting your doctor.
One study found that baby oil massages increase baby weights, lengths, and head circumferences. This is because baby massages not only affect stress hormones, but growth hormones too! During a relaxing massage, hormones are released that can positively contribute to a baby’s weight gain and neurological development. This may also strengthen a baby’s primary systems (i.e. respiratory or circulatory system).
Growing pains are completely normal in babies and toddlers, and they can be pesky! You can help to alleviate some of your little one’s discomfort by gently massaging their problem areas. Remember that babies are supposed to grow at a rapid pace, and changes in behavior during growth spurts is normal. During spurts they may become more fussy and restless, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they are in pain. Either way, a massage can always help induce some relaxation!
You don’t want to massage your baby directly after feeding to avoid any vomiting or reflux. Waiting at least 45 minutes to an hour is often recommended before giving your baby a massage. Remember that massages for your baby should be a positive experience on both ends. If your baby is fussy or stiff, it may not be the best time for a massage. Choosing a time when your baby is happy and content can benefit the entire experience.
The time of day doesn’t matter for when to massage your baby. Simply pick a time that seems to work best, whether it be before bed or as a good morning wakeup.
There aren’t many strict guidelines for massaging your baby because it’s all about what is most comfortable for you both. With that being said, consider these tips for making the process even more enjoyable:
Quiet Environment: Turn the lights down low, light some candles, and turn on some calm music. Creating an environment where your baby feels cozy and comfortable is the first step for making their massage a positive experience.
Chatting: To fuel that mama-baby or daddy-baby bond, consider chatting with your baby as you give them a relaxing massage. Listening to a loving voice can feel soothing and nurturing on it’s own.
Stay relaxed: Take a deep breath, and relax. Your energy likely transfers over to your baby. If you’re relaxed, chances are they will be too!
Light touch: If you’re massaging your newborn, you may want to start with a light and gentle touch. As your baby grows older or more comfortable with massages you can eventually add more pressure.
There’s not much cuter than a baby massage, especially when it has all these amazing benefits! To all of our rockstar mamas, you’re doing great work! Need more tips and tricks on breastfeeding, pumping, and everything in between? Visit the Willow page to learn more.
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