I posted on Facebook that I was finishing up my paperwork for my Newborn Massage Instructor certification. I had a comment that implied something along the lines of “Why would you pamper a newborn?
Aren’t they pampered enough?” It was an odd question, I thought. I had always thought of newborn massage as a great physiological and emotional tool for parents, not pampering.
On my journey as a postpartum doula and lactation educator the one thing that has always stuck out to me is how almost afraid some parents can be about holding and snuggling their newborns too much. After all, you may spoil them and they will never let you put them down…ever. As a culture we have instilled fear into new parents that touch is almost a bad thing.
Not only will you not spoil your newborn by holding and snuggling them, but you are actually helping them grow. Science has supported this concept for years**. Many heard of the studies done in Russian ophanages where those children that were held and touched grew and gained weight while those that were not touched failed to thrive. Touch is needed for growth.
My personal observations led me to pursue my Newborn Massage Instructor certification. What better way to encourage parents to touch their newborns than to show them many different techniques to not only touch their newborns, but to do so in a way that promotes that has so many positive effects.
Newborn Massage has so many benefits*:
Better performance on neurological assessment scales
Better sleep/wake behaviors
Improved growth and development
Improved body awareness
Improved relaxation and release of accumulated stress
Strengthened digestive, circulatory and gastrointestinal systems, which can lead to weight gain
Reduced discomfort from teething, congestion, gas, colic and emotional stress
Improved muscle tone coordination
Increased elimination, circulation and respiration
Reduced blood pressure Improved overall health
Families who engage in newborn massage have benefits too:
Stronger bonding and attachment between parent and baby
Enhanced sense of love, respect and trust among family members
Improved ability of the parents to read infant cues
Increased confidence in parenting
Increased communication between baby and parent
Strengthened parenting skills
Stronger family foundation through understanding, positive communication, and touch
So let’s answer the question: Is newborn massage pampering or a necessity? In my opinion, it is not pampering. Is a formal class a necessity? No, but touching and snuggling your newborn is definitely a necessity! A newborn massage class will give you a great set of techniques to use on your newborn for a variety of benefits to you and your newborn.
* Source www.babysfirstmassage.com