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Infant Massage

Infant massage fits in naturally with the family bed, breastfeeding, and attachment parenting because they all promote the skin to skin contact that babies crave. Since skin is the largest organ in the body, touch is extremely important.

When I massage my infant, he calms down noticeably in about a minute. His arms and legs stop flaying and he makes eye contact with me. It is amazing. He especially likes having his head and face massaged. I also can rub his legs while he is breastfeeding and that also calms him.

Infant massage is very easy to do. In fact, many of the benefits of massage can come from just making skin contact with your child (You can gently rub or caress your child's skin without oil).

For massage, you don't need any special oil. You can use any natural vegetable oil (avoid petroleum based oils and also using oil on the face). Vimala Schneider McClure, author of one of the best infant massage books (see below), recommends that the oil have vitamin E added (to preserve it) and that the extraction method used be cold-pressed. I found some at my local health food store.

Benefits can infant massage include:

  • Strong parent/baby bond. The bond is established through touch, through the act of spending quality time together, and through the eye-to-eye contact that occurs while massaging your infant.
  • According to book "Infant Massage", babies who are massaged handle stress better when they get older because relaxation is natural for them from a young age.
  • Massage can help release the gas that some colicky babies experience.
  • Babies are massaged in the womb (through the amniotic fluid and through contractions) so massaging them outside of the womb is natural. Babies find it calming and enjoyable.
  • Although they are babies, they can still have tension. Infant massage help release that tension for a happier baby.
There are two books that are great resources for anyone who is starting to massage her infant. These books are listed on the books page.
Below are links to sites that discuss infant massage:

Great Books!

Infant Massage : A Handbook for Loving Parents by Vimala Schneider McClure

    Wonderful! Has step by step explanations with pictures for each move. It makes infant massage seem very easy! Great great book and a must if you want to do infant massage and don't have a class offered in your area.

Touching : The Human Significance of the Skin by Ashley Montagu

    Discusses the importance of touch to your infant.

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