Friday, 10 May 2013

Baby Massage in the NICU - Trust Your Instincts

When I was a carer I had a young girl I looked after, and she had very complex issues. It was suggested by her GP and her social worker that we try massage. I had no idea where to start. She wasn't a baby, she was 7, but I bought a book on baby massage and read it cover to cover. I used some of the techniques and they worked really well. By the time I left her after a year she had completely changed, she responded to her name, had learnt to say a few words, and was much more relaxed and happy.

In that book was a section on premature babies, and I had read that too. When Joseph was born, I recalled all of it, and I chose to massage his feet. Some of the nurses and doctors queried it, saying he was too young, but it just felt right. I strongly believed I could read his cues and would know when to stop.

With Joseph's 4th birthday just gone I have been looking through old videos and photos and found this. Joseph had been really poorly and had recovered somewhat, but was still clearly very small and fragile. However you can see that when I massaged his foot, he loved it and responded to it. His lead consultant believed in me and wrote me as a prescription! He said I would meet opposition at times, and that I knew what I was doing and to never ever lose sight of my mothers instinct. It was this doctor that made me confident in my parenting.

If you have a baby on the NICU, trust yourself. It can be hard especially if you are being challenged, but stay firm. There is increasing evidence based research on all sorts of family centred care practices:- massage, music, singing, kangaroo care etc. Don't be afraid to look it up, to quote it, to politely challenge back.

At 4 Joseph still gives me his feet for a massage, especially if he's tired or scared. And he still goes for kangaroo cuddles too, though now there are arms and limbs everywhere!


  1. I love my feet being massaged and tickled, completely relaxes me. Recently read 'Call the Midwife" and was amazed to read about the Mum who refused the special care (in the 50's) to Kangaroo care of her prem baby = Mum knows best.

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  3. yes, massage is very good for babies. And I like to see baby massage video

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