Babies love to be touched and stroked, so massaging your little one actually deepens the emotional bond with your child. "A massage is a wonderful way to end a bathing session, begin or end the bedtime ritual, or start the day," says Elizabeth Pantley, parenting expert and author of Gentle Baby Care, and you can – and should – massage a child beginning from newborn. Here are some guidelines to give your baby a soothing massage:
The joys and benefits of infant massageApart from fostering parent-child connection, giving your baby a massage has been shown to help calm him down, improve sleep patterns and aid digestion. It's also a loving way for dads, older siblings, grandparents and other caregivers to share special time with the new baby.
And according to research, gentle massage actually promotes the growth and development of premature babies. In fact, one study found that preemies who were massaged for 15 minutes, three times a day for two weeks gained almost 50 percent more weight, were more alert and active, and were discharged six days earlier from the hospital than premature infants who were not massaged.
"Most babies love to be touched – and most parents love to touch their babies – so anytime you feel like rubbing your baby, you should," adds Pantley.