Infant Massage - The loving hands of an adult (Part 4: Set Up)
Massaging an infant is a very intimate moment between adult and child. While they are interacting in a form of sensory play, the skin is being touched through hands, heart and eyecontact. A baby gets the chance to talk about his innerworld and the adult has the space to listen to it.
'Touch talk' is a way of speaking between adult and child that only they understand. It’s a unique language and creates a bond!
“All first learning experiences will make the difference for later”.
(Picture out of the book "Guess how much I love you" - Bratney & Jeram)
Maybe you would like to start immediately with an infantmassage?
Getting started with an infant massage
These are some general, but very important guidelines that you can follow before starting a babymassage. (To learn the specific techniques of a massage I would recommend you to follow an infant massage course.)
Prepare the room in a "soft" way
Show baby your hands,
An example of a massage position
- Use a blanket or towel, and massage oil in a non-breakable container. (Test the oil on a small spot of your baby's skin and wait a day to be sure no irritation appears.)
- During infant massage it is recommended parents use unscented oil as the mother and baby find it easy to recognize each other through smell alone. Mothers who were exposed to their babies for as little as two hours were able to pick out their child’s clothes from another's just by smell alone. This ability has been shown to continue for years after the baby has grown (Montagu, Ashley; 1987). Johnsons baby for example has some natural products you can use.
- Turn down the lights, play some soft music. This can be special lullabye songs, chill out music, classical music, something that both sooth your senses.
- Start when your baby is in a quiet yet alert state -- not immediately after a feeding or when she's sleepy.
- Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together, forming a diamond shape with your legs.Drape the blanket over your feet and between your knee. Or sit on your knees in front of baby. If you don’t manage to stay on the floor, do what is best for you!
- Undress your baby down to her diaper and place her on the blanket, cradling her head on your feet.
- Take a deep breath. Visualize yourself in a safe space where nothing can disturb you and were all worries are left outside the room.
- Ask permission to baby before you start touching her. You can make this as playful as you like, maybe use a song or play peek-a-boo with your hands!
- Start with a gentle "hello" stroke from baby's head to her toes. If baby stiffens, cries, or becomes irritable, use the technique of the resting hands, move to another body part or simply end the massage for the day. If she responds well, start gently massaging her body section by section.
If you like to sing, then this soft love song could be as a starter for the infant massage
This article makes part of a series : 'Infant massage - the loving hands of an adult'
Part 1 : Introduction
Part 2 : Benefits
Part 3 : Reading baby's cues
Part 4 : The set up for an infant massage