Massage stimulation is often referred to by some other terms of touch stimulation, infant massage, etc. Massage stimulation is a combination of multi-modal stimulation forms, i.e. touch (tactile) and motion (kinesthetic) performed by parents, health workers or other family members. Furthermore, at the same time parents also auditory stimulation (hearing, by inviting babies to talk during a massage), visual stimulation (sight, by making eye contact while massaging), and others.
Basically, the purpose of baby massage or massage stimulation is to optimize the growth and development of the baby by providing stimulation of touch, motion, and other stimulation combinations. Massage stimulation is done in a pleasant and comfortable atmosphere. The massage length is about 15 minutes and should be given regularly. There is no standard limit on the frequency of massage per day. However, parents should make massage stimulation a routine and if possible three times a day.
What are the benefits of massage stimulation?
Stimulation of massage has benefits in certain conditions, among others, for infants:
- Increase the frequency of feeding
- Increase baby’s weight
- Help the baby to practice relaxation
- Makes sleeping sounder and longer
- Make bond with mother/parent
There is also some literature that suggests that massage stimulation is also useful in assisting the regulation of the digestive system, respiratory and circulatory systems, relieving discomfort (colic, teething), decreasing the production of stress hormones, and helping to overcome sleep disorders.
Some of the benefits of massage stimulation for parents include:
- Give special attention & tighten bonding
- Helps parents to know the baby’s nonverbal language (gesture)
- Creating self-confidence in parenting
- Improve parent & baby communication
- Improving parenting skills helps the baby to relax
- Relieves parental stress
- Make a nice atmosphere
When is the right time to do massage stimulation?
Should not after drinking milk / eat, not when the baby is hungry, not when the baby is showing signs of reluctance to massage. Should not wake the baby from sleep just for a massage. Infants who are sick should be taken to a health worker to be sure whether special care is needed or not.