The Dos and Don’ts of Baby Massage
A baby first forms a connection through the touch of the skin and then the bonding process begins. The skin is known to be the first sensory organ to develop, and is also the largest.
You can encourage the bonding process through massaging your baby even if you are not experienced with massage techniques.
The benefits of baby massage:
- Research shows that massaging your baby encourages both psychological and physiological growth.
- Massage deepens the bonds of love and creates an environment where your baby feels loved and secure.
- There are also benefits for the parent as bonding with their baby brings a sense of fulfilment and has also been known to heal parents suffering from postnatal depression.
- Massage stimulates your baby’s awareness, brain development, motor skills, circulation and digestion. It also helps to release winds.
- Massaging with a 100% natural oil blend will protect your baby’s fragile skin and prevent it from drying out. Try our Eli and You Baby Bath and Body Oil.
- Massaging can improve sleep due to the relaxing effect on your baby.
- The therapeutic effect of massaging aids the strengthening of your baby’s immune system.
- Baby massage is useful for the overall development of premature babies.
Before you begin:
- Ensure that the ‘massage’ room is peaceful and warm (between 25 – 28oC)
- Remove any jewellery that may hurt your baby during massage.
- It is better to have short nails when massaging your baby as this will be softer on their skin.
- Be prepared with Eli & You Baby Bath and Body Oil, towels or muslin cloths as well as a set of clothes and your nappy changing kit.
Create a relaxing atmosphere:
Create a soothing atmosphere by turning off harsh lighting and playing nature sounds.
Make sure there are no distractions in the room like lively pets, mobiles or telephones.
When is the best time to massage baby?
Massage can become part of your night time routine that develops into cherish moments over time.
How should I massage my baby?
- Begin with baby massage once you are confident in handling your new baby.
- Start gradually with short sessions. You can lengthen these sessions once you and your baby become familiar with this special ‘meeting’ time.
- Make sure the skin is thoroughly dried after his/her bath. You can find detailed information about bathing your baby on the Baby Skincare page. (link)
- Lay your baby on the area where you normally do a nappy change, provided it is safe and comfortable for your baby, or on the floor with a thick, soft towel.
- Give your baby time to discover this bonding time with you, as you both become comfortable. If your baby shows a dislike, try again when you’re both calm and ready.
- Begin by warming a little oil by rubbing it between the palms of your hands.
- Use smooth and firm but gentle upward strokes, starting with baby’s legs as they are accustomed to touch on their legs during nappy changes.
- Gently place both hands upon baby’s chest and tummy area, spreading your fingers to the sides. Repeat a few times.
- Keep your hands on baby’s chest and make firm but gentle outward circles with your fingertips.
- Movements that are too soft and light will cause tickling, which will unsettle your baby and possibly end the massage moment.
- Do a gentle circular massage over your baby’s tummy, in a clockwise direction, to help with digestion and to expel winds.
- Use your thumbs in a circular motion on baby’s palms and foot arches, ending with lightly rubbing up to the ends of each finger and toe tip.
- If your baby is still enjoying the massage and you are comfortable to massage their back, you can do continuous up and down strokes along your baby’s spine and back. Be extremely careful to not apply too much pressure on the fragile neck and spine area.
- Complete the massage with slow movements, keeping baby as peaceful as possible.
- Remember to maintain eye contact and talk or sing to your baby during this special massage routine, ensuring your baby is kept calm.
- Massaging your baby can become a part of your daily routine. As you massage the various parts of their body in sequence, your baby will become familiar with your touch and will be comforted by the experience.
- Please note: It would be advisable to wash your baby’s hands when you are finished, to ensure that no oil agitates their eyes.
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