Most parents don’t need an expert to tell them to hold, cuddle and rock their baby. And babies need to lots of touching for optimal emotional and physical development. Parents can take this a step further by giving their children massages.
I gave my daughter massages from infancy until about age three. My main focus was always her feet – not just because I am a podiatrist, but because the feet have numerous nerve endings. Massaging the feet is quite easy. Start by running your thumbs along the soles of your baby’s feet. Then massage from the bottom of foot; starting at the heel and working your way all the way up to the toes. Next massage the heel, as well as the sole with your thumbs. Don’t forget to rub the insteps and ankles as well and keep a light, gentle pressure. You don’t want to tickle and you aren’t trying to ease cramped muscles.
The best time for me was after giving her a bath. I would do a massage of the legs, feet, and bellyusing lotion and playing soothing music. Talking in soothing tones or reciting common nursery rhymes was also beneficial. At such a young age, this was also a great trick for helping her fall asleep. Who doesn’t want an easy way to help your baby sleep?
Stay tuned for ‘Infant Massage Part 2’ to learn one frequently forgotten step when massaging your infant’s feet!