Baby massage really is amazing! It has endless benefits for both the baby and the parent/carer giving the massage. In today’s blog I am going to focus on baby massage for babies born by caesarean section and how it can help them after making their entrance into the world.
‘Babies who have been born by caesarean section with a total absence of labour miss the protracted contractions that often accompany a normal delivery’. (Walker.P, 2009)
Contractions get baby ready to adapt to life outside of the womb by stimulating the systems and organs in their little bodies. When a baby is delivered by caesarean section with a total absence of labour they do not get this natural stimulation from the contractions and as they make their way down the birth canal which essentially massages and squeezes them along their way. This natural process also helps to squeeze any fluid off of their lungs, preparing them to be able to breathe effectively once delivery has occurred. Michael Shea, PhD states “Without that squeezing process, you see a lot of issues like colic and even breathing problems and asthma later on.”
Along with all of the well-known benefits of baby massage, regular baby massage is particularly beneficial for babies born by caesarean section as it can help to stimulate their organs and other vital systems in their body such as their respiratory system which will help to remove mucus from their lungs and regulate their breathing. It is also an amazing way to bond with your baby, as quite often caesarean babies miss out on skin to skin contact with their mother straight after birth, by spending time gently massaging your baby you are able to build this bond and get to know your precious new arrival. If your caesarean baby was born breech a regular massage can help gently relax their leg muscles back down into their natural alignment.
I personally found that regular baby massage on my son worked wonders. Thomas was born breech at 37 weeks as I had been suffering with pre-eclampsia, we missed out on initial skin to skin contact as he had to have a little help to get going outside the womb. After undertaking regular massage with him to help with tummy troubles, feeding issues, posture and general unsettled/colicky symptoms he began to improve enormously. To accompany his massage treatments we also took him to cranial/sacral osteopathy to check over his head and spine as due to being born via the sunroof and missing out on all of that natural squeezing and massaging through the birth canal means his spine segments also did not get the natural mobilisation provided by a normal delivery. After a few cranial osteopath sessions and regular daily massage Thomas was feeding brilliantly, perfectly settled, having regular bowel movements and all in all was like a completely different baby!
If you have a had a recent caesarean section and are interested in learning about baby massage but don’t feel up to joining a baby massage class Hayley offers 1:1 appointments for you and baby from the comfort of your own home. Hayley was trained by ‘Hands on Babies’ and her baby massage sessions are suitable for babies from birth up to pre-school. This baby massage course has been approved by The Royal College of Midwives.
Please feel free to leave a comment or reply about your experience of baby massage with your caesarean baby!
• Developmental Baby Massage, Peter Walker, 2009, Fair Winds Press.
• http://www.massagetoday.com/mpacms/mt/article.php?id=14504, Special Considerations for the C-Section Baby, Sharon Desjarlai, 2011.