Effects of Infant Massage
In a study done on babies to see the effects of massage on them, researchers found that massaged infants had no problem falling asleep. In addition, crying and cortisol levels decreased in the babies that were regularly massaged, suggesting a reduction in stress. As a long term effect, these babies gained more weight, improved face to face interaction, demonstrated decreased levels of urinary stress hormones and showed increased serotonin levels suggesting less depression.
Infant Head massage Head Massage
Touch the forehead, temples and the base of the cranium, eyebrows and eyelids, nose, cheeks, the area around the mouth, ears and surrounding area.
Gently make small strokes and massage the posterior part of the neck with slow movements down to the shoulders. Softly put both hands on the shoulders. Caress the baby from the neck to the shoulders in the direction of his chest.
Infant Shoulder and arms massage Shoulders and Arms
Form a ring with your fingers and thumb around your child’s arm. Begin to caress around the armpit and then go down along the arm. Be very careful when you arrive at the elbow, it is a very sensitive region.
Massage the stomach in a circular way (the genitalia area is excluded from the massage). Caress the abdomen moving your hands clockwise beginning below the ribs.
Caress each leg with your whole hand, press gently on the thighs. Slightly flex the legs and knees pressing the thighs gently against the body.
Infant Heel and feet massage Heels and Feet
A foot massage is very relaxing. Begin by putting a soft pressure on each toe, then the foot and return to the toes again. Sometimes a foot massage can help to reduce stomach pain. Caress gently all the toes. Apply circular movements at the heels.
Turn your baby around. Begin with large and slow movements that include head, neck, back and legs always in one direction. Give the baby soft strokes on the shoulders and back and massaging with your fingertips with circular movements. Do not massage the spinal cord, only put your hands over it and let the baby feel the warm sensation.
Put your hands at the top of the legs and begin gently caressing while working your way down towards the foot.