I love teaching parents how to massage their newborns. Massage provides so many benefits for baby. Introducing massage to medically stable newborns can improve digestion, therefore helping babies to gain weight faster. Other benefits include increased bonding between mother/father and baby, boosting the immune system, deeper sleep, and all that goes with digesting food for the first time, such as gas, constipation, and colic.
Because the parent is the one who is learning how to give the massage to their own baby, they get the benefit of communicating this special way through massage. I have several dolls I use for instruction and teach the strokes on my favorite doll that provides great curves in the right places to teach the massage stroke. I demonstrate the stroke that I’m teaching on the baby doll and the parent does the same stroke on their baby. With each new stroke, I describe how much pressure to use, as well as apply how much pressure to use on the adult’s arm as an example. Dads are reassured to discover how good they are at it and gain more confidence in their new role.
Some parents choose to learn baby massage before baby arrives. In that case, everyone practices on baby dolls and I again describe each step and let the parents feel how much pressure is needed for each stroke. I often encourage parents to learn the massage before baby arrives because they may have more time and remember to call me. Newborn massage is so gentle, it can be introduced right after birth and it’s important to know the criteria to do so. The class I teach is designed to only need one meeting to learn the massage, allowing parents to get back to their focus: their new baby!