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The skin, the largest organ in our body and, sometimes, the great forgotten. If we had to put a baby's needs in a pyramid, which one would we put first? Food? The dream? And what about touch? For this purpose, we tell you how to give your baby a good massage to connect with him and strengthen the bond that unites you.
'Feed the child? YES, but not just with milk. You have to take it in your arms. You have to caress it, cradle it and massage it. You have to speak to the skin of the little one. You have to tell your back that you are thirsty and hungry just like your belly. ' Frederick Leboyer, obstetrician and writer.
Infant massage is the sensory stimulation activity and more complete relationship with the other that we can offer to a child, especially in his first year of life. Later, when they grow and acquire the ability to move and a certain language, these massages will vary in time and mode, but they can continue to be given cooperatively between the two.
From the year on, it will be more difficult for them to lend themselves to lying down and 'being touched', but in that case we can offer them a shared activity in which one applies cream, another massages, the child suggests if he wants to be massaged first the arms or if you prefer the back, etc.
On many occasions, massage has been relegated to a purpose related to digestion or relaxation. Usually, we are advised to massage our babies after bathing or when you are gassy or constipated; But infant massage and all that it implies, encompasses many more situations in which the very act of touching and being touched nourishes the child (and the adult) with affection, complicity and, most importantly, LOVE.
At massage establishes a tonic dialogue, hands that pose asking for permission, a skin that reacts and then a harmony is established, a dance between fingers, hands and a body that accepts, that integrates, that feels, that IS.
It is extremely important that we touch our children, that we embrace their skin and soul, that we feel their skin and they feel ours. When a child grows up, he will play as he has been touched, being able to integrate the other as he was integrated.
When considering massaging our children, establishing this skin-to-skin dialogue, we do not need to be experts in any type of technique but we do have certain notions clear.
The best known method is the Shantala Massage, on which you can find abundant documentation, based on movements to massage the baby. This method is one of the most widespread and used and I am sure that with a couple of times that you practice, you will learn the movements and the massage will be a fluid and relaxed act.
However, do not feel pressured to do all the movements in order or with the proper technique. Let yourself go, caress their skin, interpret their looks and enjoy an intimate and of the bond that you are forging in those moments.
For this reason, I allow myself to affirm that, more than the technique, the fundamental thing is the predisposition of both bodies. And here we go into the when:
1. Make sure you pick a good time
If your baby is relaxed after the bath, it may be the right time. If, on the other hand, your baby is stimulated a lot during the bath and is nervous and needs to be held, it may not be the best time of day to demand that he lie down and calm. You know your child better than anyone, you know at what times of the day he is most active or most relaxed, choose the right time and everything will flow.
2. Create a relaxed atmosphere in the room
Make sure that the temperature favors that the baby is without clothes and comfortable, that you will not have interruptions, put a dim light and you can even put on relaxing music in the background or sing softly while you massage your body.
3. Check your interior
With the massage we intend to transmit calm and peace, for which we have to make sure beforehand that we are in a state of calm. If we have had a bad day, if we feel stressed or frustrated by a situation, it may not be the best time to offer a massage to our baby.
Once everything is prepared, whether you are going to use the Shantala technique or if you are going to let yourself be carried away by your instinct, there are fundamental steps that it is advisable to follow during the massage:
4. Start by 'asking permission' from the baby
Rub your hands together to generate heat and gently pat them on your child's torso. If you see that your body reacts in a welcoming way, go ahead and let yourself go. However, if the baby begins to show nervous and cannot calm down, either at the beginning or during the massage, it is best to terminate it as it is not contributing to his calm. Finish and restart another day or another time of the day that is conducive to it.
5. Draw the movements on her skin
It is recommended to perform the massage from top to bottom and from the center out, naming the parts of the body that you are touching (head, torso, arms and legs). By doing this, we enter into consonance with how the baby's development occurs based on Gesell's Laws of Development: cephalo-caudal (from head to toe) and proximal-distal (from the center out) development.
You can read more about how the psychological development of children occurs according to this author in the presentation by Ana Briolotti from the University of La Plata entitled 'The place of the environment in Arnoldo Gesell's theory of psychological development'.
6. You can sing to the baby to relax him
Facial massage can be too invasive, it is better to start with a song in which we mention the parts of the face and touch them briefly, although if the baby accepts it, you can gently massage his face at the beginning. The song I like to start my baby massages with is:
I have a face that looks like a little house
The eyes in my head seem to be the tiles
The eyes are the windows, that we open in the morning
The mouth is a AAAAA door, it seems that I have it open
And in the center the nose that is a bell that makes RIIIIIN.
When massaging your baby, also keep the following tips in mind.
7. Don't lose contact with the baby
During the movements I advise you not to lose contact with the baby even if we change movement or hand. If we are massaging a leg, we can hold it with one hand while massaging with the other and alternate them but without releasing.
8. Massage a part and integrate
If you have already massaged the leg and you are with the foot, when you finish, stroke the entire leg to the foot and the entire body until you reach the foot. Massage, integrate, massage, integrate: this is your foot, which belongs to your leg, which, together with your other leg, belongs to your whole body.
If you had to leave a half massage because the baby was upset, in the next massage you can focus on the parts that were not touched in the previous one.
9. Connect with your baby
Remember to keep eye contact with him or her at all times, talk to him or her and verbalize what is happening.
Besides all these recommendations, the best I can make you is RELAX, CONNECT AND ENJOY. Caress your baby, let your skins speak, your looks intertwine and this beautiful and valuable communication anchor itself in your day to day as a gift you give each other. Thanks to the infant massage you can find an oasis of calm and peace with your baby in which to feel and be together.
You can read more articles similar to Step by step to give your baby a good massage and connect with him, in the category of on-site massages.