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The Joys and Health Benefits of Infant Massage

Affiliate Disclosure | in Natural Remedies | by | with 16 Comments

Hey mama, watcha doin’ over there???

I have an idea . . . let’s play squeeze my thighs! You know you want to. :)

I’m sorry about crashing your date with daddy the other night, but can you really say no to this face?

You can???

For reasons not related to date crashing, Micah spent most of yesterday staring at me from his portable bouncy chair. It’s not like I didn’t want to hold him, but you know how it is when you start one thing that leads to another, then another and all of a sudden one of your children is yelling “Daddy, let’s do this! The sun is running out!

And you’re like, where did this day go? I’m still in my bathrobe!

In an effort to make up for my inattentiveness, I ran a warm bath and settled us in. While whispering a  lullaby (which happens to be the only way my singing is bearable), I took his little feet in my hands and began to rub, working my way up his calves to his delightfully fat thighs. He kicked, cooed and hiccuped with delight at our new game, which ended in a full coconut oil rubdown on the bathroom floor before a deep nights sleep.

Benefits of Massage

The beauty of infant massage is that babies are so little a full rubdown only takes 10-15 minutes. That baby soft skin under your fingertips isn’t bad, either. It’s beneficial, too. Research shows that massage:

  • Helps babies sleep better
  • Deepens bonding
  • Helps Relieve Discomfort from Gas, Colic, and Constipation
  • Improves Blood Circulation
  • Aids in Digestion
  • Enhances Development of the Nervous System
  • Stimulates Neurological Development
  • Increases Alertness/Heightened Awareness
  • Reduces Stress Hormones
  • Improves Immune Function
  • The Release of Oxytocin, the Nurturing Hormone

I think I’ll head to the kitchen and whip up a batch of calming massage oil (coconut oil + soothing chamomile essential oil) for Micah and a little something else for those foot rubs I’m going to try to get out of Daddypotamus. While I’m at it I think I’ll blend some tangerine and ylang ylang and see if toddlers like massage as much as the internet says they do. :)

What about you? Ready to get started??? You can find easy massage techniques and other tips at The Joys and Benefits of Infant Massage.

Photo Credit: 05com

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16 Responses to The Joys and Health Benefits of Infant Massage

  1. shannon says:

    axel loves our massage time. (and did even more when he was younger!) and Micah is so adorable!! what a beautiful baby!!!

  2. Julie Sutton Jones via Facebook says:

    Evan loves massage! It’s about the only time he is perfectly still! :)

  3. Mommypotamus via Facebook says:

    That’s awesome, Julie! Maybe it is because I was sleep deprived to the point of hallucination when Katie was this age, but I never gave it more than a passing thought until now. What inspired you to get started?

  4. shannon says:

    i started because i was putting lotion on anyway and as i did it he just relaxed so much that i decided to learn more about it and he LOVES it! :) so now it’s almost every night. :) it does get him ready for bed time! :)

    • Heather says:

      I’m glad he still likes it. I definitely plan on making this a long-term thing with Micah. I read yesterday that mothers in parts of India regularly massage ALL their family members. It’s one of the skill they learn. Sounds great to me as long as I get one sometimes, too!

  5. Julie Sutton Jones via Facebook says:

    Haha–I feel your pain on the sleep! I wish I had something great to say, but I don’t. lol:) I just started rubbing his legs and it made him calm down and relax. It almost always works when nothing else does. I really have no idea what made me do it! He loves it with his lotion after his bath. I also rub his legs while I rock him. This may sound strange, but it relaxes me too. Sort of like petting a cat I guess. LOL!

    • Heather says:

      Yeah, I didn’t quite know how to write it, but it IS like petting a cat . . . only baby fat is WAY better. Micah’s legs are like those squishy balls they sell for stress relief!!!

  6. Pippi says:

    I need to dig out the massage instructions from when my first was little. I can’t remember it all. My first loved massage time. I remember hoping it would calm her down and be good bedtime routine. Instead she’d laugh hysterically the whole time. It was a blast though definitely not sleep inducing!

    • Heather says:

      Sounds like a good morning ritual :) Then again, if yours are as different as mine it will probably relax your new little one!

  7. margo says:

    If I haven’t said it already I will say it I LOVE YOUR BLOG! I do baby massage on M. She likes the legs but not the arms just yet, those arms are still quite wiggly. Do you just mix some of the chamomile into the coconut oil (and where can I find these 2 things)? I would like to make this and use it.
    I am finding out she has small breakouts to most store bought lotions. Also, have to tell you the impact you have on others….because of your post we are experimenting with toothsoap. Have used it for the last 2 months. I love it. It does taste like soap but I love the way my mouth feels after I use it. Even my hubby has come around to liking it.
    So, thank you for doing this blog and have a Merry New Year filled with many blessings in 2011, including a new home.

    • Heather says:

      Margo – Your comment could not come at a better time. Daniel and I have been talking about our goals for 2011 (yes we are THOSE kind of people) and I was just saying that I have total mommy brain and can’t write anything good. He was like “yes you have mommy brain, but somehow that only affects how you judge your writing. You think your good stuff is yesterday’s garbage and are totally fine with the mediocre posts.” LOL!

      About massage oils, if baby M’s skin is sensitive I recommend using a food grade almond or coconut oil. Your local health food store should carry them. Olive oil works too but doesn’t smell as nice. Our local health food store also carries essential oils. That’s where I shop when I need something right away, but when I’m thinking ahead I order online. Their stuff is really pure and smells great!

      Thanks again for your kind words. I’m hoping to elaborate more tomorrow but I guess it’s not too early to say HAPPY NEW YEAR and thanks for coming ’round. :)

  8. Angela Campany says:

    This post may be super timely for us! Our little girl is turning 9 months next week and she is coming fully into the kick-Mommy-all-night phase. I don’t want this to destroy our cosleeping relationship, so I’m trying to come up with some methods to help her sleep more deeply. A bedtime massage is now on tonight’s list. Do you have any other ideas? Did you have this problem with Katie?

    • Heather says:

      Angela – Katie is definitely a kicker. When she was smaller and we had more space I placed a body pillow between us while we slept. I sleep on my side so I just draped my arm over the pillow onto her tummy. I still TRY to do this, but sometimes she wriggles right over my little wall of Jericho and kicks me in the head. At three she’s a very sound sleeper so I just toss her back in the middle. :)

  9. margo says:

    HEATHER- I have to tell you how I love reading & learning from your blog. I think I am a crunchy granola at my core it is just taking me time to get it out….and bring out some crunchy granola in my husband. Your blog is helping the “granola-ness” along.
    I know there are several stores around here that are “health foods” can you give me just a few places I should go. I believe we live in the same area since I am a post patient of Jim Bobs.

    thanks again for educating us!

    • Heather says:

      Whole Foods in Arlington, The Sunflower Shoppe in Grapevine and Sprouts all carry essential oils. Another great place is The Health Hut in Hurst. It’s a smaller store and the selection is more limited, but it’s only about 5 min from LFWC.

  10. Cynthia says:

    I am afraid I might squish the baby. I guess I would let the expert handle the massage thing. I am very much afraid of trying it myself.

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