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Baby Massage
For Child Care providers
Type: For Child Care providers   Skills: Physical & Motor SkillsSocial & Emotional Skills
Contrary to the old warning that holding babies too much will spoil them, we’ve since learned that the opposite is true. The more affectionate you are with your child, the better off he will be. In this activity, you’ll discover how massaging your baby can improve your child’s health and development. Baby Massage
What We Learn
Children need nurturing touch for emotional, physical & cognitive development & health
Positive & respectful touch communicates love & care
Help children learn that they are in control of their bodies
Supply List
Grape seed oil
Towel
How-To
The first thing you need to do is to relax before you touch your baby. You might roll your shoulders, take a couple of deep breaths and just try to relax.

Provide a warm and comfortable surrounding for the massage. Remember, babies will have their clothes off and have oil on their skin, so a warmer than average room temperature (75 to 80 degrees) is appropriate.

Put a towel down before you begin the massage. Don’t place your baby on a table because you don’t want to risk your baby moving and rolling off. Do the massage while sitting on the floor so the baby is close to the ground, making sure both you and your baby are comfortable.

Use pillows to support yourself properly. Perhaps you can play music or even sing while you are performing the massage – something to make the massage relaxing and enjoyable for both of you.

Before beginning the massage, make eye contact with your baby and ask permission to touch. Ask out loud, “Is it OK if I massage your legs and feet today?” Keep good eye contact and observe your infant’s face to see if they’re reacting positively that it’s OK.

Next, get your baby ready by undressing the body parts that you’ll be massaging.

Remember to warm your hands before massaging. Pour some of the oil on your hands and rub your hands together to make sure the oil is also warmed up.

Use oil that is unscented and edible, such as grape seed oil. Don’t use massage oils. The oil should be edible because it is likely infants will place their hand or foot in their mouth when they’re getting massaged. The oil should be unscented because the smell of you -- the person giving the massage – helps babies to identify with you and to bond with you as the person that loves and cares for them.

Start the massage by first working on your baby’s legs and feet. You can begin by massing one leg at a time. Don’t put any pressure on the knee or the ankle. Just use a long, gliding stroke. Three strokes usually is a good rule of thumb for a baby. When you get to the bottom of the foot, simply use thumb strokes on the bottom of the foot. When you’re done with legs and feet, you can work your way up to stroking and massaging your infant’s tummy.

Benefits
There are many benefits babies receive from massage. Infants who receive massage seem to grow faster, develop lots of healthy muscle tone, and coordination. Some babies actually score higher on intelligence exams, or at least those activities that require attentiveness. They have a greater focus and they’re much less aggressive than other children.

What Age Can You Start?
You can start nurturing touch – which is simply laying hands – at the moment infants are born. But wait to do any tummy strokes until their umbilical cord has healed. You should probably wait until infants are at least about 3 or 4 weeks old.
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