1. Parenting

Video:How to Massage a Baby

with Kathy Moore

Want a fun, relaxing way to bond with your baby? Try giving her a soothing massage. Check out these benefits of infant massage as well as some basic techniques.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Massage a Baby

Hi, I'm Kathy Moore for About.com Parenting. Everyone enjoys a relaxing massage, and babies are no exception. This program shares some of the benefits of infant massage and offers a few basic techniques for you to try.

Benefits of Massaging Your Baby

Infant massage has been linked to improved sleep, growth, and reduction of colic. A loving touch relaxes your baby, lessens tension, fussiness, and irritability. It can improve muscle tone and circulation and even improve your baby's awareness.

Create a Consistent Routine for the Massage

To begin a massage, set the right mood for you and your baby. Try to create a routine for your massage time, be it first thing in the morning or right before bed, and create some consistency with this schedule.

Make sure the room temperature is warm. Since the baby will be undressed for periods of time, always keep his body temperature in mind. This is true for your hands, too. Make sure they are warm before you place them on your baby.

The room only needs to have enough light to ensure you can see each other. Too much light can be distracting and uncomfortable for your baby.

Massage Your Baby's Back

Lay your baby on a soft towel on the floor or your changing area, and you are ready to begin. Start with your baby on his stomach. Gently rub your hands back and forth, starting at the head and neck then moving down across the shoulders.

Continue working down to the back and waist. Then work up and down from the thighs to the toes and back again. Do not forget to massage the arms from shoulder to fingers. Spend about one minute on each area then move to the next.

Move the Baby's Arms and Legs

Then, gently roll your baby over on his back. Move each arm and leg, bending and straightening it. Then, pretend your baby is pedaling a bicycle. Offer a soft rub across his tummy and up and down either side of his face.

Watch the Baby for Clues

Throughout the massage, watch your baby for clues. If he turns his head away, crunches up his forehead, or starts crying, he has probably had enough. With time, your baby will learn to enjoy and appreciate this together time.

The most important aspect of infant massage is the increase bonding that occurs between you and your child. So, worry less about your techniques and more about your touch and you will both benefit from the experience.

Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the Web at parenting.about.com.
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