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Baby massage has long been advised by experts as a way for parents to calm, and bond with, their newborn child.
And a new series of videos put together by Dorset HealthCare’s Perinatal Service provides simple, practical tips on how to do it.
Nursery nurse Claire Starling says baby massage has a range of benefits for both parents and children, from easing teething pains to improving sleep patterns.
She has created a number of short clips to help demonstrate how a baby can be soothed and relaxed through two different massage techniques. The first involves gentle stroking, which calms a baby and increases circulation, while the other helps babies suffering from eczema and cradle cap, as well as stimulating their immune system.
Claire said: “Baby massage not only helps the baby, it provides an opportunity for parents to spend quality time with their child instead of just seeing to their daily needs.
“It helps gain a deeper and more confident understanding of their baby's behaviour, crying and body language to increase the ability to nurture and care for their child.
“Massage not only has the physical effect of soothing and calming a baby’s body, it also has psychological effects – giving them a sense of feeling safe, secure, loved and cared for. It’s an ideal way to enhance bonding and attachment.”
Baby massage can also sooth babies to sleep, aid digestion, ease teething pains, improve circulation and improve weight gain. And research suggests it can significantly help mums who may be suffering with post-natal depression, or are at risk of depression, to interact with their child.
Claire added: “You can massage your baby as much as you want. Some parents give daily massage as part of a routine, especially at night to sooth them to sleep. Others choose to massage their baby when they want to feel close to them or want to offer a different activity.”
You can watch the films online at: www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/baby-massage-videos
The Trust’s perinatal team provide care and support for women experiencing mental health problems during pregnancy and up to one year after giving birth. Find our further information.