Just as I was completing Massage school, a class became available for infant massage. As I had several friends at the time who were having pregnant, I decided to take the class. I felt if massage can be beneficial to adults, it must be good for babies as well. I knew how deeply touch could affect adults, and I had read several studies that stated it was even more important to the proper development of infants.
Besides the class there was an extensive research program of books to read things to look up , massages to perform, and one book in particular, Touching by Ashley Montague was so informative, it broadened my perspective of the body and humanity in general.
Massaging an infant is different from massaging an adult. Although the environment you want to set up will be similar. For example, you want the room to be dimly lit, and warm, with some relaxing music. You will want to use warmed olive oil, or a lavender scented oil for best results, but if all you have on hand is baby oil, that will work as well. With infants, it is best to start with the feet, working your way gently up the legs towards the tummy. If you have a baby with colic, or gas, stretch the legs up towards the tummy while bending the babies knees. Again, remember to use gentle pressure, too light and it will tickle the baby, to hard and you can hurt your baby. Here is an excerpt from Parenthood.com:
“ Begin with the legs and feet using slow, gentle strokes. Babies are delicate, but too light a touch can be ticklish and aggravating, advises Karen Wright, a certified infant massage instructor. If your baby splays her fingers or toes, or avoids your gaze and looks away, she’s telling you that she’s stressed or that you’re using too much pressure, Wright says. If your baby clenches her fists in front of her chest, don’t try to pull her arms apart. This is a stance that the baby isn’t ready to be touched there. Some infants are extremely sensitive and can’t deal with a lot of touching at first. Maintain eye contact and observe your baby’s body language.”
I did some research, and there are several good videos on You Tube about infant massage. So go have a look and watch how they do it. And remember, infant massage is not only beneficial for the infant, but also the parent. It gives you a time to bond with your child, to relax together, and will help your baby sleep better at night, which always helps new parents!!!
Massage Therapist, Melbourne, FL