Infant Massage

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Kimberly Manning, MD, Pediatrician
Infant massage, an age-old custom in many cultures – and now is gaining in popularity with parents in this country to help with bonding and sleep. It's easy to learn and convenient to do in almost any setting – as we will demonstrate with 6 month old Gabriella step by step.

: Begin with a warm room, calm setting and a soothing tone of voice Place the baby on a flat surface – such as a changing table and cover with a soft towel or blanket Warm a tiny tad of lotion in your hands first. Start with the baby's head. Using gentle, circular motions – move from the forehead to the temples, nose, mouth and ears Speak softly as you go, working down across the shoulders and chest with fluid, flowing strokes. Keep close eye contact as you slowly rub the belly, arms and hands –and give a tender tug to each tiny finger. Then taking one leg at a time, apply smooth and even pressure moving from top to bottom – with a final count of all ten toes.

: Remember to take their cues … babies will let you know when they're not interested or have had enough. If all is calm, you can turn baby onto the tummy, and repeat the process – moving from head to toe.

: This quiet form of communication helps parents and babies a get good night's sleep – and keeps them in close touch to form healthy, emotional attachments that last a lifetime. For WebMD I'm Dr. Kimberly Manning.