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Top 5 ways Infant Massage Promotes Infant Mental Health

As a new parent or a soon-to-be parent, your concern about your child’s well-being and getting everything right is perfectly understandable. A lot of questions might torment you and the internet might more often than not add to your plight. One major reason for this is the fact that there are no informed sources of information that is posted online. However, your search and worries end here, as we have curated each and every blog of BabySpa to ensure that the needs of the newborns are understood and met.


Nurturing your little one with the utmost care and love is your priority at this point. While her crying gives you cues about her hunger and sleep patterns, what would tell you about the right time to bathe her?


Baby massage is one topic that people from across the world belonging to various cultures have appropriated as something crucial to the overall growth and development of your little one. Not to eulogize, but the importance of a professional infant massage during the foundation months can never be stated enough, this is the reason why a lot of maternity centers, hospitals, and neonatal service centers offer training in infant massage services.


Research proves how this is not just beneficial for your little one’s development but is also known to reduce the postpartum stress in the new mother, and boost mother-child bonding. The reason for this is explained in the points below.


Did you know that infant massage begins way before you take them to a baby spa or a hydrotherapy session? The first massage that your child receives is when they are being pat dried shortly after birth. This is done in an attempt to help the baby take the first few breaths with ease.

Several pediatric researches have successfully demonstrated massage therapy as being effective in the physical and psychological development of infants. Here are the Top 5 ways Infant Massage Promotes Infant Mental Health.


Boosts Mother-Child Relationship


Childbirth is stressful; it takes a toll on the mother’s physical and mental health as the body is trying to cope with the pain, the changing hormones, and the physical changes after childbirth. Although many might seem to disagree, post-partum stress is a real thing and mothers tend to have a very stressful experience during the first few months of childbirth, all these factors might make it difficult for mother-child bond to develop as both of them are going through a rollercoaster of emotions.

While the mother is mostly resting and recovering from the labor and the baby is handled by the caregivers at home, most babies come to the mother only when there is a need to be fed, but the baby is irritable at such times. However, research says that a baby would be relatively calm and relaxed when being fed if done after a massage.


This is because infants who received regular massages tend to be more relaxed and that helps them develop a stronger positive bond with their parents. The massage has a therapeutic effect on your little one which comforts them and introduces the child to positive touch interaction. The baby instantly learns to associate the comforting positive touch during a massage with that of the mother and develops a healthy relationship with the parent.


In fact, Infant massage is also proven to be beneficial for a mother, as proven by scientific research.


Skin to skin interactions. Does the infant massage improve the couple functioning?


A research article published in The National Center for Biotechnology Information suggests that infant massage could be considered as being instrumental in reducing postpartum depression, promote mental ability, and facilitate a better understanding of the baby's signals in the mother.


Relaxes the Baby


Studies from the University of Miami’s Touch Research Institute have shown that touch is an essential part of human health and wellbeing.


Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami in a recent study found that touch is an integral part of wellbeing and health in humans. The study also mentions that positive touch would help one feel nurtured and nourished and this is sensed even by newborns.


When you touch your baby and massage her gently you build an aura of positivity and closeness with the little one and help her relax. In other words, infant massage is known to reduce the levels of cortisol, the stress-inducing hormone, in your little one which makes them feel relaxed. It is important to give your baby a massage regularly or pay a visit to a baby spa and help them relax to ensure that the level of cortisol is maintained between massages.


Streamlines sleep patterns


Newborn babies have a disturbed sleep pattern as they find it difficult to adjust to the new environment. Coming out of the warm, dark, and comfortable womb it becomes difficult for the infant to adjust to the new space and that messes up with their circadian rhythm or the sleep patterns.


Think of this as similar to the jet lag that we experience when we move to a different time zone. This difficulty in adjusting to the new space affects the quality of sleep that the baby gets and that in turn makes them sleep for irregular durations and leaves them cranky.


However, when a baby is given a massage, her muscles and body relax, this makes them want to wind up and sleep. When your baby is well-rested, she will be less irritable and will sleep without disturbance while developing a regular sleep cycle.


Alleviates risk of psychological problems


Infant massages have been proven to foster physical and psychological growth in premature babies. A slow and regular massage has proven to reduce the symptoms of autism and ADHD in children, and boost the early brain development process in your child.


A research conducted by the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development at the University of London, showed that the first few months after birth is crucial in a child's life as a major part of brain development occurs in this stage and infants who would go on to develop autism and other brain developmental problems tend to exhibit early signs in this stage. While it is widely believed that children with Autism do not like to be touched, experts say that it is all about finding the right touch that would create a positive sensory-motor experience in the little one causing a calming effect.


The study proposed that infant and pediatric massage offered a multi-sensory approach to the babies by providing them with ample opportunities to engage in positive eye contact and skin-to-skin contact, which would come handy at a later stage in life to calm the child. The study also went on to prove that infant massage reduces the occurrence of stereotypical behavior in children with autism which includes avoidance of eye contact, social relationships, etc.


Releases Oxytocin


A happy baby is a healthy baby and if your little one is happy she would be well-fed and well-rested too. Did you know that a well-done infant massage increases opiates or endorphins in your baby’s body? These are nothing but we call as the happy hormones.


An increase in the happy hormones reduces the stress that the baby experiences while adjusting to the new environment. When your baby is happy, she is also less likely to experience pain and react to any irritants in the environment.


The only other time that a baby’s body releases oxytocin is while the mother carries and feeds the little one, so is that not reason enough to give your bundle of joy the much-needed relaxing massage?


Well, there are a lot more reasons we could add to this list, but it all sums up to one point, infant massage keeps your baby happy and healthy, so are you ready to let your little one explore the joys of a good massage? Do you have more questions on infant massage or any of the points discussed in this article? Reach out to our childcare experts here!

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