Baby massage can facilitate bonding and provides emotional as well as physical benefits. Use olive or coconut oil to provide a nice smoothe glide, using firm gentle strokes over your baby’s entire body. Starting with the feet, then working your way up their legs, and across their hips. Then working down from the baby’s shoulders, then on to the chest, down the arms. Massaging your baby’s belly with circular motions in a clockwise direction, (The direction of our digestion)
Healing, soothing, and stimulating … Baby massage has been a daily ritual for centuries in so many cultures around the world; Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America. And with modern science and healthcare praising the power of touch, daily massage may be exactly what you and your baby needs. Now, if you want to incorporate massages as a daily part of your baby’s routine, I’ve got you covered!
Bonding time with your baby through a daily massage can help in so many ways.
Some of the many benefits of baby massage are:
- Focused one-on-one time helps baby to feel cared for and protected.
- Encourages coordination and movement, thereby improving baby’s development.
- It stimulates your baby’s immune system, circulation, and digestion.
- Creates a stronger bond between yourself and your baby.
- Choosing a time that works best for you both
Many ultures use massages are part of a morning routine, before a bath. However, there isn’t really a specific time that’s suitable for all babies. Work out what fits best in your family’s schedule as well as your baby’s needs. A couple of things you should keep in mind while massaging your baby:
Avoid massage time right after feeding: A massage right after they have eaten may make them uncomfortable, they may even throw up. Wait at least 30-minute after any feedings.
Experiment to see if a bedtime massage works for your baby: Many experts suggest a bedtime massage to help baby to sleep more soundly. But, some babies will feel stimulated after a massage. This could mean you’ve now got an alert baby, just when you’re hoping to wind down! If this is the case for your baby, you mat rather opt for a cuddle at bedtime and move the massage to earlier in the day.
Don’t give a massage when your baby is upset or fussy: Look for clues that your baby is in the right mood for massage-time. When babies are game for a massage, they look content and relaxed and keep their gaze steady. If your little one goes stiff in your arms, turns away, or begins to fuss, it’s probably not massage-time.
2. Apply an organic oil as your massage medium
The massage medium should help your hands and fingers to glide over your baby comfortably. Using an edible vegetable oil such as olive oil, sunflower oil, or apricot oil should work well. Vegetable oils feel wonderful on our skin and are rich in vitamins and essential fatty acids that are great for baby’s skin.
Be sure to do a patch test on your baby, by placing a small bit of oil on the skin of the elbow crease, before applying to their entire body. I suggest doing this a day before, to make sure your baby does not have any allergic reactions.
If you need to apply a medicated cream to your baby, for something like eczema, you can use that instead.
Avoid nut oils, as well as essential oils
Nut oils, such as peanut oil, may provoke allergic reactions, and better to avoided for baby massages. Don’t use essential oils or any aromatherapy oils, as they may be too strong for baby’s delicate skin.
3 Setting up and setting the mood
Setting up for baby’s massage is fairly simple. All you need is some down-time where you’re not likely to be interrupted, a room that’s warm and draught-free, some soft uneventful music, and old comfy clothes that you don’t mind getting oil on. Remember to remove any jewelry that might poke or scratch your baby’s skin before you start the massage.
Sit comfortably in a secure area
In Southeast Asia, mothers will sit on the floor with their legs stretched out in front of them. They place baby on their lap, face up, with baby’s head toward their feet, and massage the baby. If this feels awkward, you can simply lay a thick sheet or soft blanket on the floor and place your baby on it. Now sit comfortably next to the baby and start the massage.
Now that we’ve gotten prepared, here’s how to massage your baby.
Work your way from the toes to the head
Feet & Legs
Start the massage at your baby’s feet. Slowly stroke the feet with a firm yet gentle pressure. Your baby will find this type of touch soothing. Some babies may only be comfortable with a foot massage to start. If your baby doesn’t seem like they enjoy being massaged further, stop. If they do seem to be enjoying it, you can work your way up baby’s legs, to the thighs, and then across the baby’s hips.
With both your hands on baby’s shoulders, stroke down from the shoulders toward the center of the chest. Or go from the shoulder down the arms, all the way to the fingers. Be sure to wipe the fingers off, so that your baby doesn’t suck oil off of them.
Avoid massaging baby’s belly if it feels full or taut, or if they start squirming or seem uncomfortable. Your baby’s abdomen should feel soft when you massage it. Stroke the belly gently with one hand, clockwise, in a circle. Begin from the lower right side of the abdomen and move up, going in a clockwise direction, ending on the lower left side of your baby’s abdomen.
Use your middle or index finger for the face massage. Begin by massaging the sides of the nose and move toward the outer edge of the face. Stroke across your baby’s cheeks and forehead, eyebrows, and down the bridge of the nose.
Flip it and reverse it
If you are both up for one final round, turn baby on their belly and glide your fingers down in a few smooth, long strokes, starting at the head and going all the way down to the toes.
Finishing with a warm bath
After a massage, give your baby a warm bath and dry off gently. Nourish baby’s skin with your favorite lotion or oil, wrap up in fresh linens, and continue the love-fest.