Benefits of Baby Massage

My youngest, Na, is like very much in massaging. Firstly, I am not interested enough in massaging for baby. So, usually I just stroke her tenderly and gently or rub her by using cajuput oil or Tawon (bee) brand medicated oil. But, Na asked me to massage her back and her legs.
Actually, not only Na, Kak Ifa and Kak Dhila, Kak Ida, and Mas Nur also often asked me to massage them, especially when they will get sleeping. And I will stop my massage when they have been sleeping.
Then I find this article in the site named Baby Development Guide. This site discuss about how to treat a baby healthily and safely. Beside that, this site also talk about all kind of guides related to baby's and children's development. Here is the article about the benefits of massage:

The first sense that the human body develops is its tactile sense, or sense of touch. After all, there is no need yet for eyesight because the fetus is in the comfort of the womb, free of noise, sights, and even taste. The embryo responds to being rocked and massaged while inside the womb. The sense of touch is also used as a signal that it is time for birth, and thus the baby is pushed toward the birth canal and into the outside world. Just imagine how it would seem to the baby: one minute you’re in the comfort of the womb, surrounded by fluid that gets rid of your waste and provides you sustenance, and the next you’re in a garishly lit room, forced to breathe on your own, to fend for your own. This is why babies often cry even if they’re not hungry or wet; they need reassurance that they are safe.

Massage and its benefits are enjoyed all over the world, usually by adults. However, in some parts of India, Africa, the West Indies, and Pakistan, babies receive their dose of soothing massages as well. In these areas, the baby is massaged almost immediately after they are born, usually by their grandmothers. Massaging the baby will be the responsibility of the mother after she has had enough rest and she feels that she could care for the baby without having to be in discomfort. Massaging will continue well after birth, through toddler years and into adulthood. It has been shown to create a strong bond between the parents and their children. Yehudi Gordon, an obstetrician based in London, had said that massage is a form of communication, thus strengthening the bonds between the child and the world.

Premature babies and those who are in special care, in particular, need the loving touch. Babies who were also delivered through Caesarean section also need it, especially because they have not been massaged via the birth canal when they were born. Fast-birth babies also need to be comforted through touch because they are recovering from the speed and shock of the delivery. Massaging has been known to assist in the development of the child’s physiology and emotions. Some studies say that infants who have been massaged regularly experience significantly lesser health problems. They also have healthier appetites and sleep patterns compared to infants who received no massage at all.

A massage can benefit the newborn child’s organ systems separately.

  1. Digestive system. The child experiences better digestion and waste elimination. Mothers who have regularly massaged babies state that the infants were able to feed better, and are less prone to developing diarrhea, colic, or constipation. These illnesses are usually treated by medication that can become addictive, when in fact it can be solved by a massage and improved diet.
  2. Nervous system. Massages have been shown to be near-miraculous in calming and lulling a crying baby. There are lesser incidences of irritability, tantrums, and frustration, thus easing the stress on the newborn’s parents. It seems that the effect massage has on the newborn is equal to what it has on the parents as well: parents are less agitated and apprehensive about the demands of their newborn. The home can experience calmness and tranquility once again.
  3. Immune system. Babies who have been massaged become more resistant to health problems, especially infections.
  4. Respiratory system. The soothing motions of massages can relieve the lungs and the heart, resulting in fewer incidences of nasal problems like coughs and colds.
  5. Skeletal and muscular systems. The massage encourages flexibility and suppleness in the joints of the baby, thus leading to better coordination of the movements of his or her muscles.
  6. Skin. The general appearance, including the texture and tone of the newborn’s skin are greatly improved by massaging it regularly. Blood circulation is also enhanced, thus helping in rapid waste elimination.