How to massage a baby – Steps, Techniques, Benefits & Tips
If this is your first time that you are giving massage to your baby, so it’s better to learn all the dos and don’ts, benefits related to baby massage.
Giving massage to your baby is one of the best ways to keep your baby healthy and physically strong plus it helps in creating a lovely bond with your baby. Researchers show that daily infant massage promotes better sleeping, improves blood circulation, assists in weight gain, aids digestion, and even enhances the immunity system of your baby.
What is a baby massage?
Baby massage involves rubbing a baby’s body in gentle and rhythmic strokes with light hands. Mothers can use oils, creams, or moisturizers for massaging as it helps make the massaging strokes smoother. You may massage the chest, tummy, back, arms, legs, and head of your baby.
When to start baby massage?
Well, there is no guideline set regarding the minimum age to start massaging your baby, but it is best to start massaging your baby after one month of their birth. This is because till this time babies shed their umbilical cord stub, navel had dried, the skin is less sensitive than at birth and after completing one month baby is more responsive to the touch.
Best time to massage your baby
The best time to give massage to your baby is when they are well-rested and in a good mood. Select the slot right between the two feeding sessions, when the baby is less likely to feel hungry or full. Start massaging your baby at least 45 minutes after the last feeding session and wait to 15-20 minutes after a massage before feeding bay.
Which oil to use for massage?
You may use any odorless oil or lotion for massaging your baby so that it doesn’t create any irritation to your baby. It is best that you should consult your pediatrician regarding which oil is best suitable for your baby.
Setup for baby massage
Start your baby massage with the following setup: -
- Sit on a bed or soft carpeted floor
- Maintain a comfortable room temperature
- Good lighting in the room
- A recommended baby massage oil from your pediatrician
- Keep the soft towel with you while massaging your baby.
How to massage a baby?
Here are the step-by-step techniques for massaging the head, face, back, chest, tummy, legs, and feet of your newborn baby.
Take some baby oil in your hand and pat it on your baby’s head. Spread the oil on the head and start massaging the baby’s head with a gentle touch. Do not apply more pressure and even take care of the fontanel.
Apply some baby oil on your baby’s face and tap with your finger. Apply the oil from the forehead towards the chin. Apply gentle strokes on the cheeks, chin, nose, and forehead with any pressure with your finger in an outward direction.
Fold your baby’s knees up to the tummy and apply gentle pressure. Try to hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat it a few times while massaging your baby. Even try to massage your baby’s tummy, from below the naval area, in a downward motion. This helps in releasing gas.
Make your baby lie on the tummy. Massage with both your hands, from the base of your baby’s neck to the buttocks, by back and forth movements of your hand. Apply gentle pressure in a circular motion with your fingers, on your baby’s spine.
You may place both your hands on the center of your baby’s chest and make outward strokes towards the shoulders. You may repeat this motion a few times. You may place your hand horizontally and make downward movements too.
Starting at the base of your baby’s rib cage, use your fingers to massage your baby’s tummy in circular motions. Take your fingers around the naval area and massage in a clockwise direction.
- Legs and feet
Take your baby’s legs and apply downward stroke from the thighs to the ankle. Hold your baby’s thigh and slide down both your hands by rotating in opposite directions but do it gently.
Some other additional important tips
Here are some of the additional vital baby massage tips that you may follow while giving massage to your baby:
- Properly clean your hand
- Apply gently pressure
- Make sure the baby is in a good mood
- While massaging talk to your baby
- Try to make it a routine
- Wipe off excess oil from the baby’s body
Benefits of massage for your baby
Following are some of the benefits related to the baby massage
- It is good for your baby’s health
- It makes your baby physically stronger
- Relieves stress, relaxes muscles
- It strengthens the bond between you and baby
- It provides relief to your baby
- Helps baby sleep better
- Stimulates the nervous system
- Improve blood circulation
Conditions where a massage may be beneficial
- Constipation, gas, and colic
- Cough and congestion
- Gastroesophageal reflux