Apart from fostering parent-child connection, giving your baby a massage has been shown to help calm him down, improve sleep patterns and aid digestion. It's also a loving way for moms, dads, older siblings, grandparents and other caregivers to share special time with the new baby.
Gentle massage also promotes the growth and development of premature babies. One study found that premature babies who were massaged for 15 minutes, three times a day for two weeks gained almost 50 % more weight, were more alert and active, and were discharged 6 days earlier from the hospital than premature infants who were not massaged.
Most babies love to be touched and most parents love to touch their babies so enjoy the massage process. Use this intimate session to talk to your baby. Tell him what you are doing and ask for permission even if your baby cannot give verbal consent yet. Start with a short session at first, no more than about five minutes. You can gradually lengthen your massage sessions when your little one becomes familiar with the ritual over time. And remember to watch your baby's reactions and body language for feedback. Look out for signs of enjoyment (smiles, coos) or discomfort (fussing, turning away) and stop if he seems uncomfortable. Respect your baby's signals.
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