When it comes to the power of the healing touch, we are not the only one who benefit from massage. Baby massage has been used for centuries across many Asian and African cultures as a way to ease colic, crying and assist sleep. It is always fascinating to learn about how many benefits such a simple and natural action can have on our precious ones.
It is not too late to start massaging your bubba, both newborns and infants will be able to indulge in the experience.
Five of the proven benefits of skin to skin contact with your bubba include:
- Improved sleep patterns: Baby massage as a tool in regulating sleep patterns due to its ability to increase serotonin levels and regulate melatonin secretion rhythms. In a survey conducted on 100 parents on the benefits of baby massage, 58 per cent of babies with problems showed improved sleep and 69% found their babies were quicker to settle.
- Reduced crying time: A Cochrane review of studies analysing the benefits of baby massage showed baby massage was effective at significantly reducing crying time.
- Eczema relief: A UK study showed significant improvement in eczema symptoms with the introduction of massage. Use an oil rich in nourishing fats and calming botanicals to assist in reducing the inflammation associated with eczema.
- Stronger emotional bonds between bubba and parents: In many traditional cultures baby massage is seen as an essential part of bonding and forms a critical component of baby routines along with feeding, bathing and changing. Spending time massaging your baby assists in establishing a deeper communication and connection between you and your bubba. It has also been shown to be a wonderful support to fathers, assisting in reducing paternal stress and increasing bonding with their babies.
- Enhanced growth and development: Studies show that infants receiving touch therapy and massage gain weight faster and are discharged earlier than other infants.
- Relief of colic, reflux and constipation: Massaging the stomach with certain careful strokes helps to move milk and any wind around the intricate intestines, easing pain, improving constipation as well as cramps. It also speeds a natural process of the nervous system, in particular the vagus nerve which controls aspects of the digestive system and reflux.
Tips on beginning to massage your bubba
- Use a pure and edible baby Oil such as Edible Bubba Vanilla Dream Baby Oil. Avoid conventional baby oils which contain mineral sulfates, synthetic fragrances, alcohol and preservatives.
- Wait for at least 45 minutes after feeding before you start massaging your bubba.
- Babies tend to love having their feet and legs massaged, so this is a great place to start.
- Strokes to the stomach area should be gentle and left to right and clockwise.
- Pay attention to your bubba’s mood, if he is turning his/her head away from you it may not be the best time for a massage.
- If your baby is prone to eczema or dry skin, avoid rubbing the skin too hard but instead stroke the skin gently in a downward motion.
- When and how often you massage your bubba is completely up to you. Your newborn may enjoy a daily massage and your toddler may enjoy a massage at night or as a soothing part of his or her bedtime routine.
For more information on baby massage or to participate in baby massage training, contact Infant Massage Information Services on 1300 558 608.
 The Infant Massage Information Service, 2014. Available at: http://www.babymassage.net.au/about-us.html
 Kassim,L. 2004. The Benefits of Massaging Babies. Journal of the Association of Massage Therapies. Available at: http://www.aamt.com.au/journals/Feb2004/1_benefits_of_baby_massage.doc
 Bennett, C., Underdown, A. and Barlow, J. 2013. Massage for promoting mental and physical health in infants under the age of six months. Cochrane Review. Available at: http://www.cochrane.org/CD005038/BEHAV_massage-for-promoting-mental-and-physical-health-in-infants-under-the-age-of-six-months
 Cheng, C., Volk, A. and Marini, Z.2011. Supporting Fathering Through Infant Massage. The Journal of Perinatal Education. Vol. 20 (4).
 Field, T., Diego, M. and Hernandez-Reif, M. 2010. Preterm Infant Massage Therapy Research: A Review. Infant Behaviour & Development. Vol. 33(2), 115-124.