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Friday, 27 February, 2015

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At left babies lay calmly as their parents stroke their legs. Most of the babies responded positively to the massage. (Roselynn Wahtomy photo)

Parents bond with babies through massage

Sho-Ban News
FORT HALL – Babies relaxed as they were treated to the soothing touch of their parent at the Early Intervention Program Baby Massage Class on Friday, February 20.
The training was provided to parents to help them calm and soothe their baby while interacting with them to build a bond in their relationship. Staff from the Human Development Center in Pocatello gave the presentation, with Hollie Gneiting leading the discussion.
Parents were taught calming techniques for infants that included the 5 s’s, which were swaddling, positioning bay on their side or stomach, making “shh” sounds, gently swinging or comforting baby by stimulating their sucking reflex with a pacifier or bottle.  Each of the steps recreated their environment in the womb.
Parents were encouraged to tune into the cues their baby gives them, one such way was learning Dunstan Baby Language, which are vocal signs from babies.
Besides bonding, infant massage is also known to help infants with colic.
Infant massage can fit into a baby’s daily routine, parents were instructed to make sure baby is warm and comfortable; choose a place free from distraction; make sure baby and parent are both relaxed.
Things needed for baby’s massage is a small amount of oil or lotion, towel or quilt for baby to lay on, extra diapers and protective cloth and a change of clothes.
Before starting the massage it was suggested parents ask babies for permission and keep in mind to be flexible. Pay attention to willing cues like eye contact, cooing, smiling and stop or take a break if non-willing cues are shown like crying, arching back and pulling away.
After the staff gave their introduction parents took their babies to another room to learn different infant massage strokes. They were told to start with baby’s legs, because they usually enjoy it. Massage strokes were applied to one leg at a time.  Stroke techniques included upward milking, squeeze twist, stoke up sole and foot to name a few. Strokes were also learned for the stomach chest, arms and hands, back and face.
Parents have often reported babies are more relaxed after massages.
Massages have plenty of benefits for baby and parent but the most important one is creating a loving bond.