There are so many benefits of infant massage, but have you heard of infant massage being a tool to prevent child abuse? It has been used in LA by Project SAFE, a program that focuses on child abuse and neglect prevention. The program helped children zero to five years of age and their parents. Here’s what we’ve learned:
To increase child safety infant massage can be used to improve child-parent relationships. Parents who learn about child development, bonding, attachment, positive parenting strategies, healthy communication and self management set their children further up for success.
Good communication and healthy child-parent relationships are a great deterrent of child abuse. Infant massage is a good time to open conversations about “good” and “bad touch”. Consent is also another important topic to teach our little ones. Before beginning to massage your child, it is important to ask for their permission. Teach your child that they are the ones who make decisions about their body (i.e. who can touch them, who to hug/kiss, etc.).
As your relationship with your child improves through infant massage, it opens the door to better communication. When your child feels safe with you, including talking about any and everything, they are more likely to share something that might make them uncomfortable, including someone touching or treating them inappropriately. Despite how many precautions we take as parents, it is important to give our children tools to handle these situations.
Infant massage has many benefits which are commonly sorted into 4 main categories: interaction, stimulation, relief, and relaxation. Infant massage increases child-parent bonding, secure attachment, communication skills, respect and empathy. It can further have physical benefits to the circulatory, digestive, hormonal, immune, lymphatic, nervous, respiratory, vestibular, language and muscular systems. Infant massage can relieve problems such as: gas, colic, constipation, congestion, teething pain, tension, and sensitivity to touch. It lastly helps children relax and can improve your little one’s sleep. Infant massage increases melatonin production (the sleep hormone) and lowers cortisol levels (the stress hormone). Many of these benefits of infant massage pertain to the child, however they can extend to the whole family.
With the benefits of the infant massage becoming overwhelmingly apparent, are you massaging your little one?
Storybook is the leading infant massage app on the market. It features relaxing music, white noise, poems, guided meditation, and bedtime stories for your little one. No prior experience needed. Try it out free for 7 days.