This question came up recently in our Baby Massage class. Why is it not recommended to massage your baby following their vaccinations? And what should you do if your infant massage class falls within 24 hours of your baby’s jabs?
Baby massage boosts circulation. As you can imagine, this brings increased oxygen and nutrients all around their little body, nourishing cells, muscles and organs!
Your baby’s inoculations illicit an immune response. They may react in a similar way to when a virus or bacteria has entered the body, with a raised temperature and feeling unwell. This is their body reacting appropriately to the vaccine and creating antibodies that will protect them, should they ever encounter the real live version of the disease!
It is preferable that babies’ developing immune systems have time to gently deal with the new challenge. We don’t want their immune systems to ‘take on’ the vaccines any faster than they naturally would, which could happen if we boost its circulation around their body.
It is also possible that the site of the vaccination will be sore, and any added pressure from massage could cause discomfort.
If your baby has had they vaccinations within 24 hours of their baby massage class then please do still attend class!
You can watch to learn the strokes, you can chat with the other Mums in the class, you can enjoy being with other people, out of the house, in a friendly, nurturing and supportive environment.
You may also be able to do a little bit of massage on your baby at the guidance and recommendation of the teacher, avoiding the site of the immunisation.
I would recommend following this advice for Baby Yoga sequences as well. I am talking about the Baby Yoga sequences in which we manipulate babies’ limbs to give them a stretch and help them build mind/body awareness and neural links related to coordination, proprioception and movement. The interactive yoga between parent and baby should be fine, so for example when we circle our arms to give ourselves a shoulder stretch and tickle baby as we sweep past them. Bear in mind though, that babies may be cranky after their immunisations so may not enjoy being lifted, balanced and moved through the air as we do in some of our interactive postnatal yoga sequences. Be assured, they normally love this and there are lots of smiles and giggles!
I hope this article answers any questions you may have about infant massage, baby yoga and immunisation.