Massage is a way for both parents to express their love and care for their baby. It can soothe the baby and help him or her to sleep. You and your partner may find it relaxing too!
Baby massage is gentle, rhythmic stroking of your baby’s body with your hands. As part of your massage routine, you can also gently manipulate your baby’s ankles, wrists and fingers.
The soothing strokes of your hands stimulate the production of the feel-good hormone oxytoxin in you, your baby and even your partner.
There are lots of ways baby massage can benefit not just your baby, but you and your partner as well. Massage can be particularly good for premature babies (Field et al 2010, Vickers et al 2004), helping them to grow and thrive.
Massage may help your baby to:
(Underdown et alThere is a theory that touch and skin-to-skin contact can help to stimulate your baby’s brain development (Winkley 1999). You may find giving your baby a massage lifts your mood and helps you to feel more empowered as a parent. The time you spend with your baby carrying out a massage can be your special time together. As you massage your baby, it comes naturally to chat to her and make plenty of eye contact with her (Underdown et al 2006). This is one reason why massage can help mums with postnatal depression (Field 2010). Baby massage can be great for dads, too. Some dads may miss out on a lot of the hands-on care of their babies, especially if they are at work and their baby is breastfed. A regular massage with dad can become a routine, perhaps at bedtime; that helps to bring them closer (Magill-Evans et al 2006).