By Lisa Lombardi
No new parent needs to be told to cuddle and touch her baby. But did you know that specific kinds of touch- infant massage- can help preemies gain weight or fussy babies settle down? Research has shown that massage calms colicky babies, improves sleeping patterns, and can help premature or ill babies who have trouble nursing latch on, and breastfeed successfully.
But even if your newborn is full-term and easy-going, massage can benefit your baby. "Any loving touch is good touch," says Susie Plechner, a certified infant massage instructor and spokesperson for the International Association of Infant Massage, "but massage is one of the best ways to bond with your baby."
To get started, lie your baby on her back, either on a blanket on the floor next to you, or on your lap, with her head near your knees. Talk to her in a soothing voice to help her relax. If you wish, put a dab of an unscented massage oil in the palms of your hands (avoid oils made from nuts, since they may cause an allergic reaction). Then:
For more information about infant massage, and to find a catalog of massage books, videos, and oils, visit the iaim-us Website.
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