Infant Massage

Infant massage

When we use the calming strokes to massage our children, we stimulate the production of a ‘feel-good’ hormone called oxytocin which is released in you, your baby, your partner and even siblings, if they’re present. Oxytocin is the hormone that gives you that warm, loving feeling like when you hold your baby close or breastfeed.

You may find that your mood is lifted and you can feel more empowered as a parent when you exercise baby massage with your child. The time you set aside for a massage can be your special time together. As you massage your baby, it comes natural to chat to them and leaves plenty of time for eye contact.

The intimacy of touch with your child and the bonding experience is why massage can help mums with postnatal depression, or who are at risk of depression.

Infant massage is great for dads too. Many dads miss out on the hands-on care of their babies, especially if the baby is breastfed or the dad is working.

Premature babies

Massage has shown to be beneficial with premature babies, resulting in:

    • An improvement in weight gain. A key nerve, called the vagus nerve is stimulated during massage, which connects the brain with important parts of the body, including the stomach. Stimulating this nerve can improve digestion and bowel movement, helping your baby to gain weight.
    • Massage improves the parts of the nervous system that regulate our organs. So massage can help to keep your premature baby’s heart rate steady.
    • Calmer response to stress and pain.
    • Stable brain activity can grow at a normal rate, with the stimulation of massage. All children love stories. When combined with the benefits of simple massage strokes, stories present wonderful opportunities for creative fun and interaction. Sharing positive touch offers great scope for imaginative activity and learning for children of all ages and abilities.

Further Reading