Massage may be particularly good for premature babies in special care, and can result in improved weight gain, particularly if oils are used.
Massage stimulates a key nerve, called the vagus nerve, which connects the brain with important parts of the body, including the stomach. Stimulating this nerve can improve digestion and bowel movement, helping your baby to gain weight.
As well as that it can encourage a more stable heart rate. Massage improves the parts of the nervous system that regulate our organs. So massage can help to keep your premature baby's heart rate steady.
Babies can have a calmer response to stress and pain.
It also encourages more stable brain activity. Premature babies who are massaged tend to have brain activity that develops at a normal level. Premature babies who are not massaged have shown a decrease in brain activity development.
These benefits may contribute to the finding that massaged premature babies tend to be well enough to go home with their families sooner than babies who aren't massaged.
As I always say, Baby Massage benefits both the parents and the baby. Having a premature baby is very stressful, You may find that giving your baby a massage lifts your mood and helps you to feel more empowered as a parent. The time you set aside for a massage can be your special time together. As you massage your baby, it comes naturally to chat to her and have plenty of eye contact with her.
Baby massage can be great for dads, too. Some dads may miss out on a lot of the hands-on care of their babies, especially if they are at work and their baby is breastfed.
A regular massage with dad can become a routine, perhaps at bedtime, that helps to bring your baby and partner closer together. It can also help your partner if he is feeling stressed.
People often ask me how soon they can join my classes with their babies. The great news is, that babies can be massaged as soon as they are born, the earlier the better!
Get in touch for more details on my classes.