Baby massage is a lovely way to enjoy time with your baby and it can also help you bond with them. Find out more in this article.
Before babies are able to understand language, we often communicate and comfort them through touch. If a baby cries, for example, parents will hold, cuddle or stroke them. Baby massage is part of this natural impulse.
What is baby massage?
Baby massage is the gentle, rhythmic stroking of your baby's body using your hands. As part of a massage routine, you might gently manipulate your baby's ankles, wrists and fingers.
You might also talk softly, hum or sing to them while massaging to create a sense of calm and reassurance for your baby.
What are the benefits of baby massage?
Baby massage was introduced about 30 years ago in neonatal wards to support the development of premature babies in intensive care units. A study in 2004 found that babies in intensive care units who were massaged spent less time in hospital, had slightly better scores on developmental tests and slightly fewer postnatal complications.
Today, there is widespread belief that baby massage can increase a mum’s awareness of her baby’s needs and support their early bond, as well as improve her sense of well-being if she is suffering with postnatal depression or other mental health issues. The evidence is inconclusive on these points but parents do say they find baby massage a lovely way of bonding with their baby.
Many talk about the following benefits:
- Becoming more confident in handling their child and better at recognising their needs.
- Improved positive interaction with their baby.
- A great way for partners, family members and carers to bond with baby.
- Improved sleep for their baby.