Baby Massage; Bond with your Adopted Baby
Massage is an excellent way to bond with a child of any age. Massage is especially important as a means for helping a child experience appropriate, loving, non-sexual, touch. If you are adopting an older child, work directly with a therapeutic massage therapist to learn massage techniques. We also recommend the video Heart to Heart, available at the Infant Massage USA.
Baby Massage: A Video for Loving Parents, is excellent for learning to massage the non-crawling adopted baby.
Studies have shown that the hormone prolactin, which is needed to produce breast milk, is increased when a mother massages her infant. It is often referred to as the "mothering hormone" because it also brings out a desire to nurture. When prolactin levels were done on fathers who massaged their infants it was found that their prolactin levels went up, helping them to feel more competent and nurturing. It truly helps them fall in love with their baby. Think of what it could do for adoptive parents and grandparents, too!
Adopted infants may grieve the loss of their former parent or family. Even tiny infants have known their mother for nine months prior to birth. This may show up as long bouts of sad, inconsolable crying. The massage routine will help them to feel the benefits of unconditional love, which will allow the grieving process to be done in a safe, nurturing environment.
In one small study teen fathers who were taught infant massage techniques were more likely to still be involved with the baby than were the fathers in the control group at one year.
Comments from Adoptive Parents about Baby Massage: A Video for Loving Parents:
"Our daughter had diarrhea for the first month she was home. Was it stress? Or a change in the water? We never knew. AND; I'm so glad I was doing infant massage. Can you imagine how many times we were cleaning that child's bottom? For balance, I'm glad that at least once a day, for a few minutes, we rubbed her arms and legs and back too. I like to think she got the right idea from the start, that ALL of her is important to us."
"When we adopted Robert, he was an underweight baby.
I used Baby Massage: A Video for Loving Parents (especially that grease-proof card)
because I wanted him to gain weight. When he didn't crawl, and then didn't
walk until 22 months, we got involved with pediatric physical therapists.
Now we have a diagnosis of 'low tone,' and I found out that massage was the
BEST thing I could have been doing all along, and he's much better off because
of it. One thing didn't work out for me; I was advised to switch to a more
'stimulating' touch. By then Robert and I had a rhythm going of
massage-as-calming time. After a few tries, puzzling for both of us,
I went back to thinking of massage as a calming routine.
We love hearing from adoptive parents who have used our video. Contact us (and let us know if you are willing to have your comments posted.)
If you are still looking for your child, bookmark this page and check with AdoptionAdvocates.org. Ethiopian children are available now.