I bet though, that what you have not heard is that massaging a baby is good for you too! For parents and caregivers (like grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc), giving a massage to your baby provides relaxing one-to-one time with baby, it is a great way to get to know baby, it helps you feel more confident in handling your baby, and it provides a positive way for fathers and other family members to be involved in nurturing the baby. Infant massage can also helps alleviate stress and mild postpartum depression, help to develop strong family bonds, especially for the parent who is away at work all day or the grandparents who don’t have the luxury of seeing baby all the time.
A good way to learn infant massage is by signing up for a group class or private lesson, this allows someone who is trained in infant massage instruction to help you perfect your technique. Another excellent resource is the book ‘Infant Massage – A handbook for loving parents’ by Vimala McClure, the founder of the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM).
It was through the Canadian chapter of the IAIM that I received my infant massage instructor training almost 11 years ago. Over the years it has been my pleasure to work with families both one-to-one and in groups, helping both babies and their loved ones learn the techniques and experience the benefits of infant massage.
It is best to learn infant massage when your baby is between about 3 months to crawling (after that they don’t want to sit in one place for you to learn it). Once you have become familiar with the infant massage techniques, it is important to set the scene at home to ensure that both you and your baby (or grandbaby) can enjoy the benefits from infant massage to their fullest potential. Pick a time of day when your baby is quiet and alert (and when you aren’t thinking about the next thing you have to do, like make dinner), choose a warm quiet place, turn down the lights, and turn on some soothing music. After asking your baby for permission to start (you will learn the signs that they just aren’t into it), smooth the oil between your hands and begin. I prefer to use a light olive oil as it is fantastic for your skin, and it doesn’t matter if baby puts it in their mouth (like they do everything else). The most important thing to remember is don’t rush through the massage, allow yourself the time to relax and fully enjoy the experience of nurturing someone else through the power of touch.
The power of nurturing touch is amazing, why not use it to benefit you and your baby (or a baby you love). Both of you will feel amazing for having shared the experience together.