Who can resist a naked little baby covered in coconut oil? Not me. Baby massage is one of the healthiest activities to share with your little one. Touch is the earliest of the senses to be developed in the human embryo and the most developed of all our senses at birth. Touch can lift one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness. Touch also boost our immune system, no wonder there are so many incredible benefits of massage. Touch and massage also invite a deeper connection between parent and baby, a time where the rest of the world can melt away while you offer warmth and love through your hands. Nurture your baby’s sense of touch with massage, gentle touching games and clothing made of natural materials. Nurture your sense of touch with hugs; hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger. Create time to connect with your baby with massage and cuddles throughout the day, it’s good for everyone’s health.
Vimala shares, “I am so amazed and grateful to see infant massage becoming a part of cultures around the world. I never imagined to reach this vision when I began teaching in 1976 and wrote INFANT MASSAGE, A HANDBOOK FOR LOVING PARENTS, first published in 1979. The organization I founded 35 years ago, International Association Infant Massage (IAIM) now has chapters in 67 countries; my book translated in 13 languages.
Infant massage, as we teach it, is not a fad. It is an ancient art that connects you deeply with the person who is your baby, and it helps you to understand your baby’s particular nonverbal language and respond with love and respectful listening. It empowers you as a parent, for it gives you the means by which you become an expert on your own child and therefore can respond according to your baby’s unique needs. Rather than growing up selfish and demanding (though all kids go through such stages), a child whose voice is heard, whose heart if full, and who is enveloped in love overflows with that love and naturally, unselfconsciously gives of himself to others. He learns what healthy, respectful touch is by being touched that way. He learns self-discipline by watching his parents and imitating them The deep emotional bonds formed in infancy lay a foundation for a lifetime of trust, courage, dependability, faith, and love.”
How To Massage Your Baby’s Feet
You can massage your baby’s feet any time! With or without clothing, Lay your baby in front of you, at a time that your baby is “quiet, alert.” Rub some natural oil (for this, anything will do — if you cook with an oil like coconut or safflower, you can use that).
1. Put about a nickel-size amount in your hand.
2. Rub your hands together so your baby can hear the “swish-swish”; show your hands to your baby and ask, “May I massage your feet?” You probably won’t get much of a reaction the first time. This is a cue that you are beginning a massage, however little.
3. Hold your baby’s foot cupped in your hands.
Proceed with the following:
A. THUMB OVER THUMB: Stroke your thumbs, one after the other, from heel to toes.
B. TOE ROLL: Squeeze and roll each toe.
C.THUMB PRESS: Press in with your thumbs all over the bottom of the foot.
D. TOP OF FOOT: Using your thumbs, one after the other, stroke the top of the foot toward the ankle.
E. ANKLE CIRCLES: Make small circles all around the ankle with your thumbs.
F. FINISH: Hold your baby’s foot in your cupped hands again; gently roll the foot between your hands and tell your baby, “All done!”