Massaging a baby can promote relaxation, both for the parent or person massaging, and baby. This is thanks to our skin-to-skin contact triggering our hormones to balance out accordingly – via a release of our “feel-good” hormones like oxytocin, and a lowering of our stress hormones like cortisol. Research studies show that this effect in turn can help improve a baby’s ability to settle and to sleep.
Massage helps our baby to relax thanks to the gentle skin-to-skin engagement, which stimulates the release of the hormone oxytocin and endorphins – often dubbed the “love” or “bliss” hormones, – responsible for calming us.
This relaxation effect can be experienced by both the carer or parent massaging and their baby, thereby helping both parent and baby to feel relaxed and – for the baby, perhaps then feeling more reassured, comfortable and more confident in their new “world” environment.
The level of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, triggered when we are upset or anxious, can also lower as a result of massage. This can be especially handy for mothers and for their baby in those early months when both may feel easily overwhelmed by the new world together that awaits them.