Why do we massage? The benefits include:
- Improved weight gain
- Improved respiratory function
- Decreased length of stay
- Improved parent/infant interaction
- Improved sleep patterns
- Improved long-range behavioral and developmental testing scores
- Improved joint mobility
- Improved gastrointestinal function (regular bowel movement)
What kinds of oils should I use?
- In the NICU, you can use either Aquaphor or A&D Ointment
- At home, you can also use cold-pressed oils (coconut, sesame, safflower, grape seed oils)
- Aquaphor and cold-pressed oils can be absorbed by the body without clogging pores
- Do NOT use baby oil (mineral oil) because it can clog pores
- Do NOT use oils on the face
How do I prepare myself to give my baby a massage?
- Relax your own mind and body. Take some deep breaths, relax your shoulders. It is important that the parent/caregiver is relaxed to provide a positive interaction/massage.
- Be well fed
- Wear comfortable clothes
- As appropriate, pump before you begin the massage
- Have your oil setup
How do I start?
- Axillary temperature should be 36.5 C before massage is started
- Warm your hands by rubbing them together and place them on the baby
- Containment helps to “organize” the infant. This is done by firmly resting the hands on the head and trunk
- Resting hands is a holding technique- it may be on the legs, arms, top of head, and/or back
- Let your hands become heavy as this helps you and your baby slow down and enjoy the moment
- “Just be” with your baby for one full minute. Feel his/her breathing under your fingertips.
What signs will tell me that my baby needs a break?
- Bracing (looking for boundaries)
- Pulling away from touch
- Finger Splaying
- Color Changes
How will I know if my baby is enjoying the massage?
- Mouth open
- Relaxed posture (flexed or extended)
- Eye Contact/Focus
- Brow Raised
- Open hands
- Relaxed feet/toes