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premature babies | sleep


STIMULATION

  • Skin sensitivity is the earliest developed function
  • Studies have shown that animals that are gently handled & stroked are fatter, more bright-eyed and have more easy-going dispositions than other animals
  • Gentle handling improves stability of the nervous system and resistance to disease
  • Infants who are massaged regularly are more alert and sociable when awake
  • They tend to do more 'vocalizing' or 'baby chatting'
  • As they grow they tend to be more relaxed and open with healthy touch - hugging, cuddling, holding hands, etc.
RELAXATION
  • Babies sleep better and soothe more easily
  • It enables them to release pent up tension and anxiety
  • Massage helps babies practice handling input and responding to it with relaxation
  • It enhances their positive feelings about their bodies, helping them grow up with a healthy body image
  • It teaches them relaxation techniques they will carry through their life
RELIEF
  • Massage helps with relief of colic and digestive problems
  • It helps tone the digestive tract, thereby moving gas and fecal material for easier expulsion
  • It may help relieve discomforts of teething, congestion and emotional stress
INTERACTION
  • Massage enhances the bonding process
  • Infant and caregiver 'feel' closer as they share this communication of love
  • Eye contact is enhanced during this 'quiet' time of the day
  • Intuitive interaction is enhanced since the massage is done mostly in silence without a lot of extra 'chatter'
  • It is a dance that builds trust and intimacy

In a study, conducted by the Touch Research Institute of the University of Miami School of Medicine, massaged babies gained 47 percent more weight than unmassaged babies given the same number of calories. Premature Infants who are regularly massaged are hospitalized an average of six fewer days than non-massaged babies. This is why massage is now used in many special care nurseries. If your child is hospitalized, work with your care team to find the right level of massage. Tiny babies can be easily overwhelmed by stimulation. Check our page For the Parents of a Premature Infant for more information.

The video Baby Massage; A Video for Loving Parents is intended for use with the baby at home.

"Infants and young children are gifts of pure, unconditional love. Sharing massage with them allows us to tap into this love and, in turn, reflect it back to them." -Elly Leduc, RN, Certified Infant Massage Instructor





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