Newborns love their mom's touch, and many moms have told us of its healing power especially on premature babies. It's why Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC), or prolonged skin-to-skin contact is highly recommended as soon as the mom delivers.
As your baby grows, baby massage is another way to continue the experience of touch. Aside from helping improve your baby's physical and emotional health, it shows our love to our babies, pediatrician Roselyne M. Balita, M.D., founder of the Little Lamb’s Pediatric Wellness Place, told SmartParenting.com.ph.
Another touch therapy that your baby will benefit from is reflexology. It promotes good health and relaxation through pressure points on the feet, hands, and ears. Foot reflexology for babies will have you applying pressure on nerve endings of the feet that are said to relieve discomfort on the other parts of the body.
"We are always, by default, giving reflexology and gentle touch to children and babies," certified reflexologist Chantel C. Luciersaid in her how-to video. "'Playing This Little Piggy,' or just holding the feet, these very gentle forms of touch are just perfect for babies" she added.
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When your little one is crying non-stop due to teething or maybe has gas or constipation issues, baby reflexology may help. It is not a treatment, though, but a soothing aid. You still need to bring your baby to his doctor if needed.
Tips of the toes Gently pressing on the tips of the toes may help relieve teething pain. The tips of the toes are also connected to the head. It can also help with sleep or ear infections.
Center of the underside of the toes For babies experiencing nasal congestion, runny nose, colds, sinus pain, or respiratory problems, apply pressure on the middle area under each toe.
Upper pads of the feet The upper pads of the feet, just under the toes but before the arch, represents the chest area. Massaging this area in a circular motion may help with chest congestion, expel phlegm, and persistent coughing.
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Upper center of each foot The feet's center area, the middle area where the arch starts to curve, is connected to the solar plexus, or the space between the baby's lungs and the stomach. Massaging this area may help relieve upset tummies, spasms, tightness, and breathing problems. It can also improve the baby's feeding and burping.
Upper middle area of the feet The part of the foot where the upper half of the arch is located connects to upper abdomen. Gently applying pressure and massaging it may help relieve constipation, heartburn, and indigestion.
Lower middle area of the feet The lower part of the foot where the lower half of the arch is located represents the lower abdomen. Massaging this may help relieve discomforts caused by gas and bloating.
The heel of each foot The heel is connected to the lower part of the tummy, pelvis, and hips. Gently rubbing the foot's heel can help sort out constipation and correct posture problems.
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Is it safe? Naturopath Julie Cottle, from Sydney, Australia, assured that it's not only safe but effective as well. "Babies’ feet have undeveloped arches, and their skin and bones are usually fairly soft making reflexology an effective and fast modality for babies," she wrote on her website Natural Transition.
With babies, remember to use only gentle pressure, which could be a light pinch, stroke, or just really holding your baby's feet. This video where Lucier demonstrates a five-point foot massage, based on reflexologist Sue Ricks' gentle touch reflexology.
You can do foot reflexology on your baby any time, but the best time would be when they're asleep or feeding. You may also try using virgin coconut oil or essential oils (lavender is your safest option). Also, just like in massages, don't force it. If your baby pulls his foot away from you as you're doing it, then it's okay. If he's not into it. You can try again at another time.