Baby massage is one of the most excellent ways to bond with your little one. As research reveals, massages promote your little one’s physical as well as mental development in numerous ways leading to a calm, relaxed baby. In this article, you’ll learn how massages can be done quickly and effectively at home
Benefits of Baby Massage
Massages benefit the baby in numerous ways, here are some:
- Improves sleep
- Boosts psychological and social development
- Improves digestion
- Relaxes the muscles
- Stimulates the nervous system
Above all, the process creates a healthy, positive interaction between the parent and the baby. Yet another plus is that massages release the feel-good hormone oxytocin, which generates love and warmth in both parent and child.
How to Choose Massage Oil for Your Baby
Here are a few tips on how to choose the best massage oil for your baby:
- Coconut oil: Coconut oil is one of the best choices in summer as it gives a cooling effect to the baby’s body. The oil’s anti-bacterial and anti-fungal property protects the baby’s skin from potential pathogens. It is a light texture that helps in easy absorption.
- Almond oil: Almond oil is rich in Vitamin E and can be used in all seasons. It helps to keep the baby’s skin soft and supple.
- Sesame oil: Sesame oil offers many health benefits like providing warmth, acts as a sunscreen, helps in removing toxins from the body (detoxifying), and it is laxative property eases baby’s bowel movements. The oil also comes with anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that aid in an infant’s wellness.
- Olive oil: Olive oil is a well-known natural moisturizer that keeps the baby’s skin smooth and healthy. Massaging the oil on the stomach relives the little one from gastric problems and constipation. This oil can also be used to treat diaper rash and cradle cap.
How to do Baby Massage – Simple and easy steps
1. Get the setup ready
As you get ready to start the massage, make sure you keep all the essentials ready
- Go for a baby-friendly oil or lotion that suits best on your baby’s skin type
- A dry towel to lay the baby as it helps to absorb extra oil. It is advisable to place the baby on a flat surface as comfort is very important
- Keep a set of clothes and a nappy to use after the massage
- Wash your hands before massage and remove the jewelry if any
- Set a warm, friendly environment by dimming the lights and turning on some soft music
- Keep aside your smartphone
For a better experience, look into the eyes of the baby as it enhances your connection with the little one. It’s best to do the massage before bath as it washes away the extra oil or lotion without getting accumulated on the baby’s skin. Suitable time for massage is when the baby is active and well-rested. As per experts’ advice, give a massage 45 minutes after a feed or 15 minutes before feeding the baby.
2. Start with the legs
Start the massage from the baby’s foot. Rub a few drops of oil or lotion on your palm and gently massage baby’s heels up to the toes with your thumbs. Give mild circular strokes to the baby’s foot and toes. Do not pull any toe as you do for adults. Instead, give a gentle massage on the toes. Now lift a leg and make soft strokes starting from the ankle moving upwards to the thighs. Follow the same procedure for the other leg.
3. Hand massage
Now moving on to the hands, make circular movements on the infant’s palm. Make soft strokes on his fingers by moving towards the tip of the fingers. Turn the hand and give some massage to the wrist. Finally, make gentle strokes towards the forearm and gradually to the upper arm.
4. Massaging the shoulder and chest
Coming to the shoulder and chest of baby, give mild strokes on both left and right sides the shoulders and then towards the chest. Repeat the same for few seconds. Now, gently massage from the center of the baby’s chest and move outwards from the body (opposite side).
5. Massaging the tummy
When you massage the baby’s stomach, make sure you don’t give it any pressure as it’s a delicate area. Use your palm to make circular movements on baby’s belly covering all the area around the belly button.
6. Face and Head massage
Use your index finger to massage the baby’s face. Make gentle strokes starting from the forehead towards the chin and then to the cheeks. Now make circular movements in the cheeks for few seconds. Once you are done, begin massaging baby’s scalp with your fingertips like how you shampoo your baby. As the baby’s skull is delicate, do not apply much pressure.
7. Massaging baby’s back
The last step is to massage the baby’s back. Gently turn the baby and make him lie on his tummy with hands facing forward. Using your fingertips makes circular movements on the baby’s upper back and buttocks. While massing the spine, keep your fingers on both sides of the spine, Then move gently from the top of the spine to the buttocks. Repeat for a few seconds. Give some gentle strokes on baby’s shoulder blades than to baby’s lower back and finally the buttocks.
If your baby starts to fuss or becomes cranky in-between the process, it’s better to stop and resume the massage later. The fussing may be due to hunger or feeling too cold or maybe boredom.
Viji, a freelance writer who loves to write articles on various domains. She worked as a developer for a couple of years, later moved to content writing as she had a strong passion for the same.