Massage is one of the best ways for your baby to experience the benefit of touch. It is also a beautiful way to welcome your baby into this new world she is adjusting to.
Life in the womb is warm, dark, quiet, soft and constant, with food on demand and contact at all times.
Life outside is cold, bright, noisy and hard. Your baby will feel hunger for the first time and won’t feel you always close to him.
Imagine how this feels? When we look at those first few weeks of life through our baby’s eyes, it is easier to understand why he wants to be held most of the time and why being alone can feel scary for him. No matter how much we nurture and protect our babies, this transition is stressful. Babies do feel stress. Stress produces the hormone cortisol which reduces the flow of oxygen and nutrients around the body. Too much cortisol can affect growth and brain development. A massage reduces the amount of cortisol in the body and reduces stress.
In general, babies show lower anxiety and stress levels, better mood, improved sleep patterns and higher levels of attentiveness when treated to a daily massage by their parents.
In the modern western world we touch our babies more infrequently than ever before. We are increasingly reliant on prams and pushchairs although I am really pleased to see that baby wearing is becoming more and more popular. The more we touch our babies the stronger and healthier they become. There is a direct relationship between bone growth and the amount of loving touch a baby receives.
Also, have you heard of kangaroo care?
Neonatal wards in Columbia in 1979 had a shortage of incubators for babies with severe hospital infections. On discharge, mothers were told by their doctors to regularly hold their infants skin-to-skin between their breasts in an upright position. What the doctors found was that this skin-to-skin contact decreased the babies’ dependency on incubators. Astonishingly, mortality rates plunged from 70 percent to 30 percent. This was coined kangaroo care as kangaroos carry their babies in their pouch from birth.
In a world full of busyness and constant distractions, baby massage gives you true one-to-one time with your baby to deepen your bond and create a trusting relationship. It meets the needs of your baby and also your own during your first months together.
My baby massage classes are in Moseley and Selly Oak in Birmingham