Probably the most obvious and largest benefit of Baby Massage is the development of parent-child attachment or ‘bond’.
A difficult birth, breastfeeding problems, postnatal depression – all of these circumstances can interrupt or slow the mother-child bond and Baby Massage is a fantastic way of developing this precious relationship and kick starting the attachment process. “Working through a baby massage routine together gives you a crash course on your baby” says Helen Pritchard, Infant Massage Practitioner and qualified Maternity Reflexologist.
Helen goes on to say that “Through the basic human enjoyment of skin to skin contact, a feeling of calmness grows in both of you and positive, special memories are formed. As your confidence grows through practice and repetition you will find that your baby anticipates and welcomes these times together”.
For mothers who are or have experienced Post-Natal Depression the benefits are even more remarkable. Numerous studies have shown that Baby Massage improves the outcomes for babies of depressed mothers and reduce the severity or incidence of depression in the mothers themselves. This is one reason why Children’s Centres and health professionals are so keen to promote Baby Massage to new and vulnerable mothers.
Relieving colic and discomfort
Colic is a word that can send shivers down the back of any prospective or new parent and a cure for colic has become the holy grail for drug companies and product manufacturers around the world.
Is it really possible that a process as simple as touch and relaxing massage can have an effect on colic? Maria is mother of ten-month-old Alice: “Alice was a very laid-back baby, but at around seven or eight-weeks-old she started getting very unsettled in the evenings. She’d cry for up to four or five hours a night. We tried everything we could think of – warm baths, rocking, pacing, colic drops – but nothing seemed to work for any sustained length of time. My friend recommended we try Baby Massage and we had nothing to lose.”
Maria took Alice once a week and noticed that she was far more settled on those evenings and started to practice the techniques in between the classes: “After only a couple of weeks we noticed a real change. Alice was still a little unsettled at night but the hours of crying had reduced. It helped me to feel more positive about everything too”
Alongside colic, Baby Massage has been shown to reduce discomfort associated with teething, digestion and any unexplained pain, so why not give it a go!