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DOWNEY - I'm so excited after finishing my training in newborn massage. Who knew how many aspects could be covered in such a short time.
Imagine, in 20 minutes your infant can be sleeping better, have better digestion, be relieved of colic, have a brain development boost, improved muscle development and have higher self esteem. These are some of the class set-up items we learned.
The first instruction is to never use oil with a nut base, such as almond, in case of allergies. Olive oil - cold pressed - is what the instructor brought as an example. Also good to use is sesame or grape seed oil, ones that are digestible.
Have you ever seen a baby not put their hands to their mouth? Avoid petroleum based products, such as those with a mineral oil base; they can block the skin pores.
To set up a newborn massage class, warm your hands with the oil, after making sure the room is warm, the colors muted, and parents are comfortable on the floor, with the area under the baby well padded. Classical music in the background is optional, but nothing blaring nor distracting.
Start by showing the baby your hands, and ask permission to proceed. Begin with the feet: gentle but firm strokes, starting with long strokes on the legs to aid blood circulation, followed by circular strokes on the tops and bottoms of the feet, and finishing the legs with long strokes in the opposite direction.
The arms are done next much the same way.
The next body part is the abdomen. Besides the regular abdominal strokes, there is a pattern specific to relieving colic.
The baby's back is done while being straddled across the parents lap, and finally the face. For muscular development there is a facial stroke to aid in breastfeeding, and others specific to infants with downs syndrome.
Oil is never used on the face and each stroke is done three times. Simple yoga moves are also instructed to gently flex and stretch the newborns muscles to aid in their development.
Ideally infant massage is taught over several sessions. The parents return the following week with mastery of one body area and have their technique critiqued, questions answered and evaluation of the prior week. This is a new concept being taught and few facilities offer it.
There is a course at St Jude's Hospital in Fullerton or to find private instruction go to www.InfantMassageusa.org.
Rita Shertick RN BSN, is a staff nurse at Downey Regional Medical Center and nursing instructor at Long Beach City College and Cypress College. For more information, go to RitaDoulaRN.vpweb.com
Published: September 6, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 21