Massaging an infant is easy and relaxes her. It helps her body work properly and promotes her growth.
Photo: Ernest Blouin
Touch is the first sense a baby develops while in the uterus, from rubbing against the walls of the uterus or from feeling you stroke your belly to make contact. For newborns, feeding time is a comforting, reassuring, and special time you spend together.
Touch fulfills a need that is as important as drinking and eating.
Touch is a form of communication newborns seek. Holding her against your chest or your shoulder, and the way you rock her is comforting. Your caresses help her feel well, and calm her fears. Your kisses encourage her awareness of life. Through touch, you are showing your love.
Your baby will be thrilled if you like giving her massages! And it’s not hard to do.
You can begin the massage on your baby’s temples or the soles of her feet. Repeat the movements that she seems to like and follow your intuition. There are good books available about baby massage, or you can contact your CLSC. Baby massage workshops are also available.
Use bath time if there isn’t a better routine time for the massage. Wash your baby with your hands rather than a cloth. Take the time to rub her body with cream. She’ll appreciate this contact and the time you spend with her.
To give a successful massage:
- Choose a time when your baby is awake and receptive, preferably not too close to a feeding.
- Make sure the room is warm, comfortable and cozy.
- It’s best to sit on the floor.
- Use a firm but gentle touch with your entire hand to avoid tickling her.
- Use a small quantity of vegetable oil (such as sunflower) warmed in your hands for pleasant contact. Try the oil on a small part of the body first to make sure there’s no allergic reaction.
- Stay relaxed and be attentive to your baby’s preferences.