Massaging your baby has many benefits, but you could end up stressing her if you make these mistakes, as Eveline Gan finds out.
Step-by-step YouTube instructions, check. Nicely-scented oil and room, check. Soothing music, check.
You have put together all the elements needed for a massage, which has been known to help babies relax and sleep better, enhance their brain development and bond with their parents.
So, why doesn’t your little one enjoy your affectionate strokes?
Experts from the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) point out eight bad moves you may be making:
1. You schedule a massage on your terms.
Do not impose on your baby if she is not in the right mood. This can be stressful on the developing brain and nervous system, said Canada- based IAIM trainer Sylvie Hetu.
Your child may be receptive in the morning, after a bath or before bedtime. Always watch her cues before starting, said Ms Margo Kilborn, president of IAIM.
A “yes” is usually accompanied by good eye contact and a relaxed body posture, smiles and some babbling. Fussiness, lack of eye contact and crying indicate “no”.
2 .Your strokes are too light.
Giving a gentle rubdown does not mean that you do not apply pressure. Research has shown that babies do not fancy light touches, which tend to be ticklish and rev up the nervous system, said Ms Hetu.
A gentle but firm touch is calming, so parents are taught to use the entire hand or palm when they massage their baby, she added.
Watch for signs of discomfort to see if you are applying too little or too much pressure on your baby, and adjust accordingly, said Ms Kilborn.
Distraction is one of the greatest problems… When concentration keeps getting cut off, it breaks some processes in your baby’s brain. That can affect her capacity to learn to concentrate and focus later on.
MS SYLVIE HETU, a Canada-based trainer with the International Association of Infant Massage, on how notification alerts on the parent’s mobile phone or video sounds can ruin the massage experience for baby.