Babies with conditions such as cerebral palsy and quadriplegia can also benefit from being massaged. Muscle tone can be influenced, circulation stimulated and relief given from the effects of acute wind and constipation, all of which are aggravated by the child's lack of mobility. Establishing a basic massage routine will give you the feel of your baby and the confidence needed to work more closely with your child's physiotherapist. It will allow you to integrate their techniques with some that you know your baby enjoys the most, as well as giving you the opportunity to participate more in your baby's treatment.
It will also give you the opportunity to 'treat' your baby daily. The main advantage is that it will allow you to treat your baby with a parent's love more frequently, at the most appropriate time, rather than your baby having to receive treatment - whether they are on for it or not - on a more occasional basis.
Learning takes place through exploratory activities that yield an interesting experience. The child then repeats the activity that leads to the experience, and through constant rehearsal and practice maps the scenario. This then provides the basis for further exploration and development. It is from simple isolated acts like grasping and glancing that intelligence develops. Grasping becomes holding, hand to mouth becomes seeing, holding and transferring as in hand with object to mouth and so on - each new acquisition being dependent on the last.
The feet are a living masterpiece of architectural engineering - the toes spread for stability, the weight centred on to a sprung arch, the squat heel setting down firmly with every step forward. Generally we walk or run, and only discover how easily we perform such a hazardous activity when we stumble or, say, miss the last step on a flight of stairs and with a shock realise our weight is no longer cushioned.
Massage of the feet, known as reflexology, is one of the oldest forms of massage. The ancient reflexologists realised that massaging the feet could affect a feeling of relaxation that pervades the whole body. For babies (and for you and your partner) this is extremely relaxing and also a nice introduction to massage.
Your hands are the centres of feeling and expression. If you want your baby in the ‘palm of your hand’ then you must use them and feel with them.
Massaging your baby provides you with a meditative period, a unique time to focus on your baby through your hands. If you allow yourself to become distracted, your baby could get distracted.
hake your hands from your wrists before you start as this is a good way to relax and loosen them up. If you observe yourself becoming distracted during the massage, come back to this, shake your hands out again and turn your attention away from your thoughts and focus on feeling.