Incorporating touch (massage) into everyday baby care

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					Incorporating touch (massage) into everyday baby care

Touching your baby is one of the most enjoyable and beneficial things you can do, as
well as one of the most natural. Theres no reason why massage should be confined
to a half-hour session during the day. Research shows that touching your baby, in
addition to routine daily care helps to improve growth, language and social skills. You
can incorporate massage into most facets of your baby's daily routine. if your baby has
a special need, she will especially benefit from regular massage. Here are some
suggestions:

- After bathing your baby. This is the ideal time to massage your baby, since shes
already undressed. if you bath your baby in the early evening, massage can also help
to relax her and improve her sleep. You can either massage your baby after the bath,
or while you're soaping her body.
- Nappy changing. This is a great time to massage your baby, especially when she
grows a bit older and its hard to get her to stay still long enough for a full massage.
Massage her with or without oil. Stroke her tummy, legs and feet.

- Sleep time. Massaging your baby as shes falling asleep will help her to relax and
feel safe and secure. You can have a specific routine with which you get her to
sleep. Use light strokes, and keep the massage short and simple. For example, you
can rub your baby's tummy if she's lying on her back [and vice versa] or stroke her
head and face if you are holding her.

Combine this with singing softly to your baby. One great technique guaranteed to
relax your baby is to slowly and lightly stroke her feet from just above the ankles
down- wards toward the toes, using both hands - almost touching. Repeat this a few
times on each foot.

- Playtime. This works very well when babies grow older and don't want to lie down
long enough for a full massage. By touching your baby lovingly and playing with her,
you are showing her that you are interested in her, which gives you the opportunity to
spend quality time with her. This aids in her development, as well as giving her
self-confidence and a positive body image.

Try to incorporate touch in games focusing on the different areas of the body, so that
over a period of a week or so, you massage all areas. ln this way you could play
farmyard‘ on your little ones legs and arms and 'milk the cow’, for example, or you
could be a fairy 'walking' around your childs abdomen and chest; 'ride bicycle’ with
your little ones legs.

But first check the pedals‘ (massage the feet with your fingertips], count your baby's
fingers with your thumbs, moving from the palm of the hand all the way to the tip of each
finger and adapt back-touch sessions by rolling a small spiky massage ball up and
down, and around the various areas. Use your imagination and you will develop your
own techniques, taking your babys preferences into account.

				
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posted:2/17/2013
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George Chapungu George Chapungu
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