YOUR CHILD Bathing and mas­sag­ing your baby

It helps your baby relax and be calm

Move! - - CONTENTS - By Atha­bile Mrasi

ONE of the big­gest re­spon­si­bil­i­ties that you have as a mother is to keep your baby clean and healthy at all times. Giv­ing your baby a mas­sage dur­ing bath time can be a won­der­ful way to bond with your child. We look at tips on how to bath and mas­sage your baby.

WHAT IS A BABY MAS­SAGE?

Lynne Bluff, a reg­is­tered nurse, mid­wife and child­birth ed­u­ca­tor at Hug­gies, says “Baby mas­sage is gen­tle and rhyth­mic stroking of your baby’s body with your hands. You can use oils or a mois­turiser to help your hands glide smoothly over your baby’s skin. You can also talk softly or sing to your baby while you are mas­sag­ing her, which may make it more re­as­sur­ing for your baby,” says Lynne.

WHAT ARE THE BEN­E­FITS OF A BABY MAS­SAGE?

A mas­sage is a spe­cial lan­guage to com­mu­ni­cate love to your baby. It strength­ens the baby-par­ent bond. It helps the baby sleep deeper and more soundly.

It de­creases the pro­duc­tion of stress hor­mones and helps the baby to relax. It im­proves the baby’s im­mune sys­tem. Ba­bies who are mas­saged cry and fuss less.

HOW TO MAS­SAGE

It is very im­por­tant to know how to mas­sage your baby as their bod­ies are tiny and sen­si­tive.

“Be­gin with your baby on her back, fac­ing you, so that you can talk softly to her as you be­gin this new ex­pe­ri­ence to­gether. Gen­tly mas­sage from head to toe, front and back, al­low­ing one hand to leave the body only as the other be­gins a stroke. This gives the sen­sa­tion of con­tin­u­ous touch. Firm but gen­tle stroking is best. Feath­ery touches can over­stim­u­late,” ad­vises Lynne. “Tune into your baby and take your cues from their re­sponses. If cer­tain touches seem to be par­tic­u­larly en­joyed, re­peat them. If you are met with re­sis­tance, try phas­ing out stroking in that area. A baby’s face is very sen­si­tive and some ba­bies are not re­laxed by fa­cial stroking.”

BATHING YOUR BABY

Nthabiseng Leso, se­nior brand man­ager at Hug­gies, says it is im­por­tant to use soap de­signed for ba­bies that doesn’t have harsh chem­i­cals in it and not to fully bath the baby in the first cou­ple of days. “It is best not to bath your baby for the first cou­ple of days be­cause it is not nec­es­sary. After this, your baby will en­joy a full bath. Re­mem­ber that they have lived in wa­ter in the womb for the last nine months, so this is a com­fort­ing and re­as­sur­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for them to be back in wa­ter,” says Nthabiseng. “You can bath your baby on a daily ba­sis or ev­ery other day when they are lit­tle. Once they start crawl­ing, it be­comes a ne­ces­sity to ‘clean them up’ more fre­quently,” she adds.

BEN­E­FITS OF BATHING YOUR BABY

Bathing can be very com­fort­ing and re­lax­ing to the baby.

Ba­bies tend to sleep bet­ter after a tak­ing a bath.

Bathing helps the baby feel fresh, clean and healthy.

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