5 Tips on Getting Started with Baby Massage
Massaging your baby is an amazing way to strengthen the bond you have with your baby, and can help your baby be calm and relaxed. It is a time that is precious, wonderful, and full of love. If you don't massage your baby you both may be missing out! Massage can literally help your baby thrive, as physical touch is critical to their sensory development. Here are 5 common questions and answers that will get you started.
1. At What Age Can I Start to Massage My Baby?
2. What's the best Baby Massage Oil?
My favorite oil for massaging my baby is Sweet Almond Oil. However you can use any organic cold pressed oil. Be sure to use one without essential oils as the scent can interfere with the bonding process and they can also be overpowering for a newborn. Be sure to keep away from off the shelf "baby oil" as they often are petroleum based and will clog your baby's pores resulting in skin that doesn't breath properly.
3. Why Should I Massage my Baby?
The benefits from massaging your baby are so numerous that when you hear about them it can seem negligent not to massage your baby.
Your baby is also more relaxed giving them a better sleep. When massaged, a baby's central nervous system is stimulated and releases the hormone serotonin. Serotonin is known to regulate anger, temperature, appetite and many other functions that effect quality of sleep.
Massage stimulates respiration, circulation, digestion and elimination, and can also help relieve gas, colic and congestion. This is particularly important if your baby tends to have an upset tummy, especially at night.
Massage can help your baby with learning, concentration, coordination and balance. Their body develops stronger pathways in the brain that are involved in processing new information.
If those benefits haven't convinced you yet, you may like to know that massage gives your baby's immune system a huge boost and reduces stress. If you massage regularly your baby is less likely to get sick.
4. When Should I Massage my Baby?
Good question! Yes, when in life does a busy mother find time to massage her baby?
If your baby is your first, you will probably be able to fit a massage into their daily routine without too much adjustment. If like me, you're baby is your third or subsequent child, trying to find time to fit a massage in makes your brain hurt.
As with all things, we make the time to do those things that are important for us. If you regard massaging your baby as important you'll be able to find a time, even if it is only once every few days or even weekly.
I find the best time is to massage your baby is after bath time before you dress your baby. They are already undressed and warm. Your baby will reap benefits even if you can only fit in a couple of minutes. You'll probably find that you are able to fit in a longer massage on some days while a shorter one on others.
It doesn't really matter when you massage your baby, as long as they are happy and alert and haven't had a feed in the last 30 minutes or so.
5. How do I Massage my Baby?
Find a warm spot in your home away from any drafts and have a soft towel or similar to place baby on. Undress your baby, leaving their nappy on if you wish.
Be sure to only massage your baby if they are happy for you to do so, if they pull away or are really unsettled, it's best to try again at a different time.
Make sure your hands are warm, and warm the oil in your hands before massaging baby. Use circular motions, and massage their feet and legs, hands and arms. Massaging a baby's stomach area needs to be done gently in a clockwise direction. This can aid digestion and relieve constipation.
Massage baby's back and shoulders gently using circular motions and then massage their face and scalp if you would like and if your baby is still happy. Remember chatting or singing to your baby while you massage is also a great way to strengthen that bond you have with them.
If you would like to learn soothing baby massage techniques you may find an instructor in your area to do a Parent and Baby class, or you will find countless instructional videos on the internet. You can find many valuable Resources for Baby Massage Techniques on Amazon. I've included a short clip below teaching you soothing tummy massage techniques.
What are your experiences with massaging your babies? We'd love to hear from you - leave us a comment below.
Wishing you the BerryBest!
Heather & the BerryBest Baby™ team