Most mums see baby skin care as an important part of caring for baby’s health but did you know that baby massage can play an integral role in keeping your baby healthy and happy too?
Baby massage has been used in other cultures for centuries. It can be great for the parent and child bond, but that’s far from the only benefit.
It’s also believed to stimulate the immune system, improve circulation and digestion, aid the development of movement and coordination, reduce colic, promote better sleep and even stimulate growth in premature babies.
HOW DO I MASSAGE?
As a mother, you can instinctively find your own natural abilities to massage your baby, making sure that baby is comfortable and enjoying the experience.
Making your baby feel cared for and caressed is only natural and is a wonderful way to make your little one feel loved and nurtured.
For those that would like to follow a specific technique, try using the baby massage sequence below.
Place the massage oil in the hands and rub vigorously to warm the liquid.
Start with your baby’s legs…..
Nurse the foot with one hand and gently “milk” the leg from ankle to thigh with the other.
Next, holding the foot with both hands, use a gentle squeezing and twisting action, moving upwards from foot to thigh.
To finish, stroke from foot to the top of the thigh. Repeat all techniques on the opposite leg.
Next, move onto the tummy…..
Using both hands, palms flat, in a hand-over-hand clockwise circular motion, from left to right.
To relieve a bloated stomach, using your fingertips ‘walk’ in a clockwise circular motion around the belly.
To massage the chest, glide both hands outwards from the centre of the ribcage up to the shoulders and back again.
‘Bicycling’ the legs after this massage can also relieve pain. Always stop if a child becomes distressed or uncomfortable.
For the arms and hands…..
Nurse the babies hand with one hand and gently “milk” the arm from wrist to shoulder with the opposite hand.
Next, holding the babies arm with both your hands, use a gentle squeezing and twisting action, moving upwards from wrist to shoulder.
To finish, stroke from wrist to the top of the shoulder. Repeat all techniques on the opposite arm.
Finally, the back…
Gently turn your baby onto his/her tummy for the back massage.
With your fingertips, gently massage little circles all over the back.
Lastly, use the waterfall stroke, which is palm of hand over hand moving from neck to feet continuously and slowly. At the end of this beautiful massage, it is lovely to give your baby a cuddle.
MY TOP 10 EXPERT BABY MASSAGE TIPS:
Massage after a bath when your baby is already undressed
Giving a massage before bed is a great part of your bedtime routine, helping your baby to relax and settle for bed
Make sure you’re in a warm room, with no drafts, bright lights, or excessive noise
Have an organic oil or massage lotion ready in a plastic bowl beside you, so that you can dip into it without fiddling
Place baby on a thick towel or blanket
Rub your hands vigorously to warm the massage oil or lotion before applying to the skin
Keep your massage sequence short until you establish what parts your baby enjoys
Be prepared for interruptions – a little baby may want to turn over. Just bear with them and continue with your technique where you left off.
You can put baby on your lap, belly down, or resting on your shoulder if it’s easier
Keep other children away from baby – give them their own doll to massage
Always stop if the child shows signs of distress
In all aspects of the massage, be guided by your baby’s reaction. If they start to become upset, try softening the strokes (not so soft as to tickle) or try a different spot.
Being physically gentle is vital but it’s also important not to use a product that could irritate their beautiful skin, so choose a gentle, organic product which will not cause any harm when absorbed by the skin.
Get the ambiance right with a little soothing music and soft lighting, and you might find that baby massage is relaxing and beneficial for tired, stressed mums too!
Try the Little Innoscents Massage Oil to massage your baby.
About the Author: Antonette Golikidis (founder of Little Innoscents) has studied Natural Health Science at the Australian College of Natural Medicine and is qualified in Remedial Massage Therapy and Aromatherapy. She has lectured in Remedial Massage at a tertiary level. The greatest effort has gone into ensuring the information on this page is valid, however, if you are concerned about the health of your child, please visit your healthcare professional.