Infant Massage Technique
Infant massage is designed for babies from zero to two years old. The Infant Massage Technique Andrea practices is a combination of the attachment theory and the developmental play therapy. It is created by a psychologist who also created a beautiful story that goes along with the massage, the story is called The Baby Tree Hug. It is very much helpful for preemies, children from adoption and mothers who have suffered from postpartum depression or anxiety so they can have the opportunity to redo the moment that they may not be so present.
It is like a full body massage from head to toe where the practitioner would hold a baby doll as she is modeling for the parents, guiding them into the story and teaching them how to do the different parts of the massage. A part of the Infant Massage Technique focuses on the mother. They are not supposed to do a massage when they’re super stressed out because the child is going to feel the stress. And at the same time, teaching the parents how to be more attuned to their baby. If their baby is sick or is fussy, that would not be a good time to do the massage. It teaches parents how to be more attuned to their baby and also be more calm and relaxed.
Some of the benefits of the Infant Massage Technique include:
- Better sleep
- Good digestion
- Language development
- Brain development
- Helps with co-regulation
- Parents learn to be more attuned to their baby
Infant Massage at Home
If you don’t have access to a practitioner or the information about the Infant Massage Technique, Andrea recommends starting with something very natural, like when putting lotion on your baby. You have to gauge how you are massaging your baby because your touch can’t be too soft or too firm.
A good example would be the massage you get when you get your nails done. You can start massaging their feet or their hands after a bath, and then maybe singing a song as you’re doing it. You can make it a part of your routine and you'll notice that the more you do it, the more they’re going to respond to it because they're remembering that that would be the fun time they get with their mom after bath.
Having a song that goes along with the massage is an important piece. For the most part when we were babies, the way that we play has to be with our caregiver. All of these are your child’s first play which lays the foundation for language development that will help them with their reading and their brain power. Singing a song or telling a story while doing the massage is fun for the the child, and we connect when we have fun. You’re getting the connection with the eye contact and the song and the playfulness.
Learning these things is also very helpful from that reparenting perspective in terms of the things that you can apply to yourself. An example would be when you are putting lotion. This would be a good time to explore how does it feel when you’re attuned to it. Try to be very conscious about it and notice what happens. Make it a routine to soothe yourself and take care of yourself and your body.
If you’re interested in looking into this topic a little further, Andrea recommends these books by by Janet Courtney, Ph.D.:
- “Touch in Child Counseling and Play Therapy”
- “The Magic Rainbow Hug”
To get more information about Andrea and her practice, you can find all of her contact info on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andreavargaslmhc/
You can also listen to this amazing episode by visiting https://www.thebeyondresiliencelife.com/blog/infant-massage-technique.
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