Communicating Love Through Touch: A Baby With Special Needs
My recent experience as a Massage Therapist is teaching parents baby massage. Now, most parents want to learn these techniques to help with their child’s gas and teething discomforts, general bonding and promotion of grow.
Last month I was honoured to work with a couple who recently gave birth to their second child who unexpectedly was born with Down Syndrome.
I did some research before hand to make sure I fully understood the symptom picture of what a baby born with down syndrome would have and the massage techniques that parents can do to help him thrive.
If you are not aware of the symptom picture it can range to some or all of the following:
● lower than average cognitive disability to severe mental disability
● hearing loss
● congenital heart disease
● seizure disorders
● hypotonia or hypertonia of the muscles
● protruding tongue
● constipation issues
● spinal cord compression
Massage can help:
● improve muscle tone
● increase performance on motor tasks
● provide relief from constipation
● communicate love if hearing loss has occurred
Tests are currently being done to determine the severity of his health condition, but this special little guy definitely proved that he is thriving! When the nurses on the post partum floor at the hospital told his mom that “down syndrome” babies cannot latch therefore breastfeeding was hopeless, his mom and him worked very hard and two months later they are still breastfeeding!
Massage for any baby is a way to communicate love and help stimulate sensory receptors to make them more aware of their body parts as they grow.
We started off the massage session with me (the RMT) showing how to apply pressure, technique and how each technique will affect this little body. He seemed to like the massage when his mom or I preformed it on him.
Lastly, it was dad’s turn! He watched how both of us handled his son and massaged him gently. This little guy was already five weeks old when we started massage. His dad had not felt confident in handling his little body and they did not have a physical bond yet due to his unexpected health status.
Words cannot describe the beautiful moment when he placed his son on his lap, and started to massage him just like we had practiced. This baby was so relaxed, but his eyes were wide open and locked on his father! The energy in the room was blissful because this was the first time that father and son had really physically bonded to each other!
I am so thankful for that moment and it is a story I will continue to share with others on the magic and simplicity of nurturing touch and massage within a family.
The word is that dad has made time every night after bath to massage his little guy and is empowered with massage techniques to help him strive and move forward to positive growth and love from his family.