Giving your baby a gentle and soothing massage can provide them with a lot of benefits. Just like the way adults enjoy massaging, so do infants. Massage can help your little one to sleep soundly, alleviate colic, improve muscle growth, relieve your infant’s teething pain, and even enhance their immune system, as well. In addition, this touching and gentle rubbing of your baby creates a strong bond between you and your baby.
All of this takes place because, when a baby is born, touch is the most developed of the five senses. Furthermore, there is a study that suggests that baby massage a wide range of benefits that can help the baby. We’ve come up with various ways through which you can massage your baby to get various benefits. Massaging your baby the right way is very important. But before you place your hand on the baby, here are a few points to take note of:
Incorporate the baby massage into your daily activities
Create a routine for massaging your baby. Select a time that you’re free, and the baby is relaxed. Come up with the ideal time that the baby will get used to. It should not be before or after meals.
Use the right massage oil to massage your baby
There are different baby massage oils on the market. But not all of them perform outstandingly. Choose one that is edible, unscented, and made from vegetable oil. Always test a small portion of oil on the infant’s skin and make sure that it is not irritating to the skin.
Select a part of the baby’s body that is comfortable for the baby, and you
When massaging your baby, pick a place that is comfortable for the both of you. It should be warm, comfortable, and having music in the background is better.
Always be gentle while massaging the baby
During massage, touch the baby gently but firm, too. Avoid exerting a lot of pressure on the baby as you might overpower him or her. Begin with the more sensitive body parts to the less sensitive body parts.
Follow the baby’s cues while massaging
Be very cautious and observe your baby closely during massage. Whether you are done massaging the whole body of the baby or not, if the baby shows any signs of discomfort, you should stop massaging and call it a day. It’s not a must to massage the whole body.
Things that you need to have before starting a massage on your infant
A baby massage is an activity that should be taken with a lot of seriousness. Before you start a massage, there are various items that you need for it to be a success. The comfort of your baby comes first and having these items will help a lot. These things include:
- Comfortable flat place covered with a mat or blanket
- A soft towel to cover the infant
- A paper towel to wipe away oil
- Baby oil for massaging
- Low lights
- Soft music
How to properly massage your baby
The best part of the body to start with is the baby’s legs. This is this part is less sensitive than other body parts. Apply a few drops of massage oil or moisturizer into your warm hands and massage the soles of your infant’s feet. Utilize gentle, but firm, slow strokes from the heel to the toe. Constantly have one hand on the baby during massaging. Perform long, smooth strokes up the baby’s leg—massage from the ankle up to the thigh and over the hip. Massage one leg and do the same on the other. Try as much as possible to stay away from the genital area. When massaging the feet, rotate it a few times in every direction. When it comes to toes, grab each and every one of them between your thumb and forefinger and gently pull until your fingers slip off the end. Do this for all your toes.
Grab one of your infant’s arms in your hands and repeat the milking motion from her armpit up to her wrist. Thereafter, take her hand and tenderly rotate the wrist a few times in every direction. Change arms and repeat the same process. Avoid leaving the massage oil on baby’s fingers as they can suck them, which may bring them upsets. Wipe the oil off after massaging the fingers and thumb. When massaging the hands and fingers, trace tiny circles over the palm of every hand with your thumbs. Then, gently grab a finger between your thumb and forefinger and pull, allowing the baby’s finger to slip through your grasp.
The third part to massage after massaging the legs and arms is the chest. Place your hands together in a prayer position on your infant’s heart. Then, stroke your hands outward and softly flatten your palms down over the chest of the infant. Do this several times. During chest massage, start from the infant’s shoulders going down with gentle strokes up to the abdomen.
Massaging the baby’s tummy is very challenging and should be done with caution. If the stomach feels soft, you can massage it in a circular and clockwise direction. Massage as you follow the natural path of digestion. In case the baby becomes unsettled while massaging his belly, move on to another part. Always avoid massaging the tummy of an infant whose cord hasn’t completely healed. This can be really dangerous.
- Head and face
When you are done massaging the abdomen or tummy, you can move on to the head and face of the baby. Utilize your finger pads to massage the infant’s face. Stroke from the middle of the infant’s forehead, going down to the outside of his face and in towards his cheeks. You should also massage the scalp in small circles.
Finally, after you have completed massaging the front of the baby’s body, you can now move on to the outside part. Do this only if the baby is still relaxed and not restless. Turn the baby on his abdomen and apply long, gentle strokes beginning from the head up to the toe. In case the baby shows any kind of discomfort, you should cease massaging him.
The best time to massage your baby
For the massage to be soothing to babies, it should be done at the most ideal time. Performing a massage at any time is not a good idea. There are times that a massage is totally not suitable such as before or after meals and when the baby feels asleep.
The best time to massage your baby is when he or she has just woken up. At this time, the baby is very alert and relaxed. Another great period to conduct a massage is after the baby has had a bath. The massage can take approximately between 10 to 30 minutes.
Massaging the baby is an art that can be learnt so that a parent can learn how to soothe their little one for various benefits. Follow our step by step guide above and relieve colic or help your baby fall asleep easily.