Welcome to part seven of my baby massage series where I share how baby massage can help relieve your baby’s cold symptoms.
Cold infections are important to develop your baby’s immune system but can lead to a miserable time for you both if they have a blocked nose and find it difficult to feed and sleep.
Massage can help in two ways: firstly by stimulating the immune system and secondly by physically helping to clear mucus.
Several studies, both animal and human, highlight the importance of touch on the development of the immune system. In his book Touching- the human significance of the skin, Ashley Montague cites an early unpublished study by Weininger which looked at ten infants from ten weeks of age whose mothers were taught to stroke their baby’s backs. The study found that at six months the mothers of these babies reported fewer sniffles and colds, as well as vomiting and diarrhoea, than for the babies in the control group whose mothers had not been taught these strokes. Regular massage could therefore be an easy and enjoyable way help to strengthen your babies defences.
Some specific strokes could also be beneficial in helping to reduce the symptoms of your baby’s cold. Apply a fragrance free oil to your fingers to help them glide over the skin without causing friction. To help relieve a blocked nose use your thumbs to massage up and then down the sides of your baby’s nose. This will help to both open the nostrils and clear mucus. Continue with the stroke under their cheekbones to stimulate the sinuses. If they also have a cough try massaging in a heart shaped motion over the chest and upper back to help stimulate the lungs and clear congestion.
If your baby is feeling poorly they may not welcome massage – always be mindful of their cues and only massage if they are receptive. Don’t massage your baby if they have a raised temperature and avoid massage strokes around the neck area if their lymph glands are swollen here. In these cases a cuddle and a back stroke alone may be the best thing to soothe and comfort.
In part eight find out … How baby massage can help with sleep and calming.
To read the whole 8 Part Baby Massage How To Series and learn the benefits for bonding, development, tummy troubles and how to choose a suitable oil plus more start HERE.
To learn a full baby massage routine, along with how to adapt the strokes as your baby grows visit IAIM to find a class near you.
Jayne Russell has over twenty years of experience as a pre and postnatal massage and nutritional therapist and is the founder of Nom Nom – award winning, certified organic pregnancy and baby skincare. Sign up for your free skincare guide “10 Steps to Super Healthy Baby Skin” at nomnomskincare.com