Monday, September 22, 2008

Baby Massage - Holding Techniqe, Touch Relaxation

First of all, why don't you check out that little button directly to the right on my sidebar and follow my blog? :o)

As part of our doula's services, B-rad and i have been taking Chewie to Infant Massage Classes. We had a few sessions with Sunava, and then were handed over to her mother, Amara - who also teaches Infant Massage.

We had our first class with Amara yesterday- here's some of what we learned:

Number One: Holding Method
"Resting, Reassured still hand". When your touch is this conscious & intentional your baby recognizes and feels it. It will get her intention in a quiet and powerful way, and it will prepare your baby for moving touch (massage)
Use before all routines, in the middle and at the end, and any time during massage or rest fo the day when your baby need reassurance. Use before stomach, chest and colic relief routines especially, for several minutes. Maybe you don't have time for a massage one day so 'hold' for five minutes for reassuring your baby. Intention in very important. Remember: All touch Teaches.
Parents' hands on your baby are heavy and relaxed (the full weight of the hands but not extra)

Amara suggested that when we do this, with hands on Chewie's chest, that we imagine a ball of white light in our own chest, and imagine that light moving out our shoulders and down our arms into our hands and into Chewie.

Number Two: Touch Relaxation Technique - based on Conditioned Response Through (elicited) positive reinforcement

These techniques fit well with the rest of the massage strokes and often set the tone for readiness to massage. They can be used anytime your baby is stressed.
  1. They help baby cope with stress. They strengthen the stress threshold and the Relaxation Response so that baby has more available energy to meet life.
  2. Helps baby trust the world and want to open to it
  3. helps baby trust herself and her ability to handle life as it is.
  4. helps baby focus hiss attention on his own body, so that later he knows how to relax himself
  5. helps baby feel she has some control of her reactions to stress.
  6. helps baby associate your touch with the positive benefits of relaxation.
Say you are beginning to massage your baby's leg and it appears still and tense. Take this leg gently in your hands, encompassing and molding your hand to your baby's leg. Fell a heavy relaxation (Full weight of hand but nor more weight) in your hands as they conform to your baby's leg (this is holding technique). Now gently bounce baby's leg, repeating in a soft voice "Relax" - using the same tone each time you say this. As soon as you feel any relaxation in the muscles give your baby positive feedback saying "Yes, you relaxed your leg" and offer a smile and a kiss. Saying 'Relax' with the same tone is important. Refrain from saying "good" (which is a judgement). The same thing can be done holding other places on your baby - arms, chest, tummy, hands. Use very gentle shaking, bouncing, patting, encompassing, rolling motions to loosen up the tense area, giving positive feedback whenever you feel a favourable response - ie, any degree of softening towards full relaxation.

Do this touch several times a day. Soon your baby will make the connection and relax upon hearing your voice "Relax". This is a gift for a lifetime.

For more information on Baby massage, try: "Infant Massage: a Handbook for Loving Parents" by Vimala Schneider McClure. The above information comes from this book and the the research she refers to.


teeni said...

Awww. That is awesome! I love that it is a gift of a lifetime. :)

FourLeafClover said...

Lovely post. :)

Surprised Suburban Wife said...

Done - am officially a Follower! And isn't baby massage wondeful? Megan has always loved it, especially when I do her face.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I am soo jealous! I wanted to take Aria to massage when she was a baby! (We won't go into why I couldn't...)
Oh, Savia came to visit Chewie and didn't invite me?!?

Other breastmilk tips:
It is sweet.
It fixes red eye (this from a man who grew up in Sri Lanka.. have red eye? Visit a nursing mom and get her to squirt you in the eye)

Feed it to your dog (Just to stop those images, I expressed then put in in the dogs dish) to get rid of an annoying cough that wakes you up in the middle of the night (like getting up every hour to a crying baby wasn't enough!)

Heff said...

U follow me, I follow U.

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