Baby massage is a wonderful activity to explore as part of your daily routine. It not only aids and promotes positive bonding but also encourages the development of:
The immune system
Social and emotional awareness
Physical abilities and strengthening
Relaxation Is a Necessity
Massage & Yoga both encourage relaxation for both parent and child. Baby Massage promotes relaxation through nurturing touch, eye contact and the release of feel good hormones. Baby Yoga activates the Parasympathetic Nervous System which promotes relaxation and reduces stress in both mother/father and baby.
Mothers produce more Prolactin & Oxytocin which helps the body to build up milk supplies.
Babies can sense and see when you are relaxed and this teaches them about how to find relaxation, what it looks like and feels like.
Reducing stress in a baby is important because;
Cortisol (one of the stress hormones) can elevate blood pressure and heart rate, increase blood sugar, and interrupt digestive and kidney functions.
Living in a stressful environment can mean that the brain overreacts to stressful events. The impact of this can be over production of stress hormones. This pattern has been shown to continue into adult life.
High levels of stress can affect the Hippocampus (a structure important in learning and memory). Chronic stress can cause nerve cells in the Hippocampus to be destroyed which can affect memory, spatial learning and motor ability.
Relaxation: Massaging the skin activates relaxation responses in the body.
Feeling happy: The feel good love hormone Oxytocine is produced during massage and floods the body with happiness.
Stimulation: Stimulation of mental pathways from the brain to the body are developed.
Development: Development of the Vegas Nerve and its communication to the brain from the base of the spine. This results in the brain and stomach communicating effectively. You will also see smoother movements and enhanced coordination. This is called Millenation.
Stress: Massage and touch can reduce stress in a baby.
Social & emotional benefits
Sleep & eating: Massage can promote relaxed states for sleeping and eating.
Bonding: Touch, eye contact, verbal communications, scents and the production of Oxytocine during massage all aid with parent/baby bonding
Communication: Always ask if you can give baby a massage. Babies are able to communicate if they would like a massage through subtle signals and cues. This process enables the baby to enjoy the experience of touch as they know that their wishes and needs will be listened to.
Confidence: Parents will start to feel confident in reading their babies signals and these communication techniques can be used in other scenarios during their daily life. This adds to the parent/child bond and general happiness.
Relief: From teething pain, wind, constipation, nasal congestion, chest congestion and colic.
Nourishes: Skin, muscles and organs.
Circulation: Circulation can be improved. Massage also encourages the delivery of nutrients, vitamins, oxygen to the body's bones, organs, muscles and skin.
Body aware: Helps babies become aware of their different body parts.
Dispel waste products: Such as lactic acid (build up in the muscles) and carbon dioxide.
Digestive: Massage can aid the development of the bowl wall. By massaging the muscle in this area it encourages the body to send blood, nutrients, vitamins and oxygen helping tone this muscle.