Developmental Baby Massage
“Touching is the first communication a baby receives,” says Frederick Leboyer, author of Loving Hands. “The first language of its development is through the skin.”
Infants communicate through their bodies. When you engage an infant in a massage, you begin to listen to the infant; you listen to sounds, you watch movements, you listen with your eyes, your ears and your heart. Infant massage, or touch communication, nurtures the most important relationship the child will ever have: the relationship between the parent and infant. By using infant massage, a parent grasps the art of listening, asking permission, communicating, interpreting and responding to cues. The infant displays engagement/disengagement cues, furthers body awareness, self-esteem, listening and communication. Both infant and parent benefit from eye contact, relaxation, bonding, synchrony, love and trust.
What does the research say about baby massage?
1) Relieves symptoms of colic
Sheidaei, Abadi, Zayeri,
For the study, colicky babies were randomly assigned to a massage group or a rocking control group. Mothers whose babies were assigned to the massage group were trained to perform massage on their infants by an infant massage expert. For the intervention, babies in the massage group received massage from their mothers for 15 to 20 minutes during the day and also at night before sleeping. In the control group, the babies were gently rocked by their mothers for five to 25 minutes when colic symptoms occurred. Both the massage and the rocking took place for one week.
2) Help babies to relax and sleep longer
Field T, Hernandez Reif M, Sleep problems in infants decrease following massage therapy, Early Child development 1988
This study concluded that massage helps babies and toddlers settle down to sleep. After one month of fifteen minutes of massage a day, children fell asleep faster. The sleep problem rate in the group fell from 100% to 33%. Research supporting weight gain through positive touch. Many studies have shown that infants who are massaged put on weight. Massage increases the activity of the vagus nerve and increased vagal activity during massage leads to an increase in the production of sugar absorption hormones such as insulin which could account for the weight gain of infants who are massaged. (Tiffany Field. Interview 1998).
3) Proven to help mothers with postnatal depression
4) Helps to promote the growth and development of premature and low birth-weight infants
T.Field, F.Scafidi , S.
Massaged infants gained 47 percent more weight than average, scored better on the Brazelton Neonatal Assessment Scale, were more alert and active, stayed six fewer days in the hospital, continued into their first year with higher scores on testing.
5) Improved mental and physical health in infants
Babyem delivers a complimentary baby massage taster session for students completing the OCN Level 3 & 4 Maternity Nurse Training in London.