As a new mom, there will certainly be days when you wish you could hire a personal masseuse to set up shop right in your living room. If you’re like most moms, you probably don’t have this luxury, and a quick self-administered back rub is probably all you can give yourself in the middle of a hectic day. However, you might not be the only one craving a relaxing rubdown. Infant massages actually have countless benefits. While your baby doesn’t have knots in his back from stress at work or strained muscles from a long jog, a massage can do a lot to relax your baby.

You don’t need a special massage bed to make your baby’s muscles feel good. When he or she is calm, start rubbing the feet and work your way up. Make sure you apply enough pressure so that your touch doesn’t feel ticklish. Take cues from your baby. His or her reaction will let you know whether something feels good or bad. Eventually, you’ll get the hang of the massage, and you’ll be able to use it to calm your baby down when he or she seems especially restless or upset.

A recent study showed that infant massages have outstanding benefits to babies under the age of six months. Regular massages improved sleep and relaxation in babies, even on days when massages weren’t administered. The regular moments of relaxation probably teaches infants how to calm down. It also improved interactions between infants and mothers. Mothers who gave frequent massages reported feeling a stronger connection with their babies. It even had a positive effect on preventing illnesses and their overall physiological well-being.

Touch is the most developed of all of your baby’s five senses. Though sight, smell, taste, and hearing still have a long way to go, your baby can feel things the same as you. Therefore, infant massages are the perfect way to connect with your baby nonverbally. It can be frustrating when your infant is upset because you can’t tell him or her that everything will be alright. A massage is an alternative way of calming your baby down, and making it a daily routine will give you both a moment to relax and focus. In fact, you’ll probably finish feeling as though you got a relaxing massage for yourself, because there’s nothing better than a calm, sleeping, happy baby.

Source: A Undertown et al: Massage For Promoting Mental And Physical Health In Infants Under The Age Of Six Months. Cochrane Summaries January 2009