This guide gives you advice on the benefits of introducing a massage into your baby's daily routine. It includes tips on how to massage your baby and advice on the best baby massage oil for babies with sensitive skin.
Baby massage is a wonderful skill to learn and will create a natural bond between the two of you in a gentle and soothing way.
What are the benefits of baby massage?
In the early days of your baby’s life, it is important for your baby to be in close physical contact with you. This closeness is essential for your baby’s development in all areas including emotional, mental, behavioural and physical.
- Touch and eye to eye contact is important in developing the bond between you and your baby
- Babies who receive regular massage have also been found to develop faster and tend to suffer less from problems such as gas, colic and can establish normal sleeping patterns.
- Babies who receive regular massage develop their first language of touch through body awareness and coordination.
- Massaging your baby enhances parents’ confidence and understanding of baby’s non-verbal communication.
- Baby massages alleviate trapped wind and constipation, soothing colic.
- A baby massage is ideal before bedtime as it releases tension and stress and promotes relaxation for a better night's sleep.
- Babies who are deprived of regular physical contact have been shown to progress and develop more slowly than those who receive regular contact. Research has found regular massage aids weight gain and reduces stress in premature babies.
How to give your baby a massage
1. CHOOSE A SCENT-FREE BABY MASSAGE OIL
Avoid anything that has a mineral oil base or is strongly perfumed, especially if your baby has sensitive skin. Ideally use a natural baby massage oil, which is certified organic and especially made for massaging sensitive young skin.
Apply a small amount onto your hands and rub your hands to warm it up first.
2. SET THE SCENE
Make the room warm, free of drafts and dim the lights.
Create a cosy, soft area for your baby to lie on and start with your baby lying on their back so he/she can see you whilst massaging.
3. TIME IT RIGHT
Avoid massaging just before or after feeding or when your baby has just woken up. A good time for massaging is in the evening before bedtime.
The calming massage will encourage relaxation and some babies actually fall asleep during a massage. After a massage often babies sleep seems to be deeper and longer.
Helpful tips for your massage technique
- Always start with your baby’s feet and legs as this is where your baby is used to being touched. Rub feet and use a stroking action up the legs. Always massage towards the heart in smooth, sweeping actions.
- Move up towards your baby’s tummy using firm but gentle motions. Never press or use finger tips, only use the palm of your hands or the pads of your fingers. Always massage the tummy area in a clockwise motion (the direction of the natural flow of their digestive system.)
- Move towards your baby’s chest, then on to the arms and hands and rub palms. Remember to massage towards the heart, stroking the arms upwards from the hands.
- Gently turn your baby over (onto the tummy) and use stroking movements on shoulders, back and down to the buttocks. Always take care of your baby’s delicate spinal area and work gently either side of the spine.
- Carefully turn your baby over to face you and starting in the gap at the top of the nose between the eyebrows, using gentle stroking actions as you glide your fingers up towards the hairline. Repeat as many times as you wish. Do not massage near the eyes or eyelids.
If your baby doesn't at first enjoy their massage
It can take time for your baby to become accustomed and accept the massage as a part of their routine.
Don’t give up! We're sure that you and your baby shortly will look forward to this special bonding experience.
Have you got a question about organic baby products? Our team of advisers are happy to answer your questions. Please call us on 01403 740350.