Massage for the legs
Wrap your hands around the leg of your baby and gently but firmly slide your hands down from the thigh to the ankle. Repeat this several times, then move on to the next leg.
Your baby’s navel is at the level where your hands are. Use a counterclockwise motion to rub your fingertips gently and firmly over the baby’s stomach. Continue doing this.
Begin by gently rolling your baby’s arm with your hands between your fingers, beginning at his shoulder and working your way down to his wrist. Continue this motion for two to three more times and then switch to the other arm.
One hand should support your infant’s head, neck, and upper body. Your thumb should be on the one side of her neck. The thumb of the other hand should be on the opposite side. Next, gently rub your baby’s neck with your fingertips in a circular motion. These circles can be repeated several times.
Give your baby a gentle belly massage. Next, gently massage your baby’s belly with your knees. Hold the position for 30 seconds. You can do this several times. To help with gas release, place one hand on the baby’s belly. If necessary, repeat the process.
Hold me Close
All babies benefit from skin-to-skin contact, but premature infants are especially benefited. This is why neonatal intensive care units promote “kangaroo” care, where a mother places her baby on her naked chest and holds him tummy to tummy. Susan Ludington (Pediatric Nursing, Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland), who has extensively studied kangaroo-care, says that this type of contact can relax a preterm baby and help him grow.
A Worldwide Technique
This practice was developed in South America in late 1970s to help preemies living in areas that had limited neonatal care. Kangaroo care has been popularized around the world due to its many benefits. Dr. Ludington states, “We know that skin-to-skin contact can promote sleep and weight gain, and can reduce infections in preterm infants.”