My Baby – Week 17
This week, your baby is actively interacting with her world. Reaching for people and things is now a fairly common behavior. She may enjoy interacting with people whom she is familiar with just as much as interacting with a new acquaintance for the first time.
You may have heard of other parents, or healthcare providers (such as doulas), interacting and bonding with babies through baby massage, but what is it? And what are the benefits?
Baby massage is a great way for you to bond with your baby. By setting aside time to gently massage your baby, you can promote relaxation, ease any pain from colic, aid digestion, and lessen constipation.
If you decide that baby massage is something you would like to try, pick a time that is convenient for both you and your baby, so that you are both relaxed and calm. You also want to be sure to wait at least 30 minutes after your child has eaten. Make sure the room isn’t too chilly and find a safe, comfortable surface to lay your child on. Some massage therapists recommend your baby go sans diaper. If you are concerned this will be too messy, don’t worry – just leave the diaper on.
If your child is fussy and it seems like he doesn’t want to cooperate, don’t get frustrated. It is just something you will have to try another time. Also, if he tries to roll around and change positions, let him! Try to work in whatever position he is most comfortable in. Remember, this is supposed to be a relaxed and special time for both you and your child.
The massage will move gently from head to toes, and you will work with soft gentle touches on her head, face, shoulders, arms, chest, stomach, legs, and finally feet. In the smaller areas, like feet or hands, you will be using your fingertips; on larger areas you will be using the palm of your hand.
Though there are many different techniques to massage your baby, below you will find a nice, basic technique to begin with.
With your baby lying on his stomach, gently rub your hands back and forth six times on each on the following areas:
- From the top of your baby's head to her neck
- From her neck across her shoulders
- From his upper back to his waist
- From his thigh, to his foot, and back to his thigh, on each leg
- From her shoulder, to her hand, and back to her shoulder, on each arm
Remember to be gentle and to warm your hands by rubbing them together quickly. Some parents choose to use lotion or oil. It’s your choice, but be sure it is gentle enough for a baby’s skin. Also, let your baby be your guide. If she signals that she doesn’t like a particular movement by scrunching up her face or trying to move away, it’s best to stop and move on to a different area, or to try a more gentle touch.