baby-massage
Baby Care,  Motherhood

How To Massage a Baby – Benefits, Techniques & Best Tips

Tips To Do Baby Massage

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How to massage a baby is a question that many moms ask. There is something about babies that can make parents quite irritated. When you just put them down, in one minute they will be crying. Once you pick them up again, they stop crying. By simply holding your baby, you soothe him or her and they could easily fall asleep in your arms. Now, if holding your baby provides them such comfort, how much more will a massage benefit them? Let’s find out.

What Are The Benefits Of Infant Massage?

According to studies, a full-body baby massage helps to reduce crying and fussiness.

Secondly, it helps your baby sleep more peacefully and relieves issues that would cause them to cry like colic.

Third and last, there are those who propose that massages boost your baby’s ability to fight off germs. Medical research shows that a baby massage stimulates his central nervous system. This sets off a chain reaction that causes the brain to produce more serotonin and less cortisol. Consequently, your baby’s heart rate and breathing lower to give him a relaxed feeling.

Baby massages are not only impacting their physical health and wellbeing but also their emotional wellbeing. Holding your baby is not the only way to connect with your baby. As a matter of fact, massages can produce more significant emotional connections. These affectionate touches and rhythmic movements are very powerful forms of communication. They go a long way to help you build your bond with your child.

But it is not just your baby who will gain from a massage. You as a parent will gain as well. By now, you probably know that taking care of a newborn can sometimes make you feel helpless. Giving your baby a gentle massage can help you feel in control. This helps you to relax and have a time of emotional recovery. In addition, you will be in a better position to learn and read your baby’s signals so that you can respond better to your baby’s needs.

Here is a list of benefits of baby massage:

  • Reducing gas and colic pains.
  • Improving muscle tone and range
  • Improves immune system 
  • Improves mood in both babies and parents
  • Helps your baby sleep more easily  
  • Helps brain development
  • Improves focus and eye contact 
  • Enhances neuromuscular connections
  • Reduces levels of stress hormones 

At What Age Can You Start Massaging Your Baby?

The best time to start a baby massage is within the first three months, as babies begin to develop important physical and intellectual abilities, including motor skills. 

There are no set guidelines regarding the minimum age for when to start a baby massage. Although nurturing touch can be given from birth, some babies may find formal-structured massage too stimulating in the very early weeks. Some experts recommend waiting between 10 to 14 days before starting with an oil or lotion massage on your baby.  

How To Massage a Baby?

baby-massage-positions

Follow these steps to massage your baby: 

  • Choose a time when you are feeling relaxed. Your baby should be quiet but alert. Don’t try to massage a fussy baby because you may overstimulate him and cause him to be more stubborn.
  • Massages are best done after a diaper change or after a bath
  • Do your massage in a quiet and warm room
  • Don’t massage your baby while you have jewelry of any kind on you
  • Strip your baby of all clothing and only leave him with the diaper on
  • Lay him facing up on a soft towel or blanket. You can place a small pillow under his head.
  • Start your baby massage with his feet and work your way up the body finishing with his head. Legs are a good place to start a massage because your baby is used to having his legs touched during nappy changes. 
  • Pour a few drops of oil, baby moisturiser, or cream into your hands. Warm the oil or cream by rubbing it between your palms. 
  • Gently rub it into your baby’s skin, starting with his legs. 
  • For the baby’s stomach, massage in a clockwise direction (the same way as the baby’s digestive system moves).
  • When massaging your baby’s chest, fold your hands on your baby’s chest, then push out to the sides, as if you were smoothing the pages of an open book. 
  • Flip baby over and massage his back.
  • When massaging your baby’s back, gently stroke his back side to side and then up and down.  

Which Oil To Use For A Baby Massage?

You can use an oil, cream, or lotion to massage your baby.

The UK NHS does not recommend using any skincare products, such as oil or lotion, for massaging the baby until they turn one month old. Early skin exposure to some products may result in allergic reactions or eczema. 

Many mothers find oil as the easiest medium for massaging their babies. Choosing a massage oil is entirely down to a personal choice.

It is advisable to apply the chosen oil or lotion to a small area of your baby’s skin, a few hours before using, to ensure it is suitable for your baby. 

Here are a few recommended oils:

How Often Should I Massage My Baby?

Many moms choose to massage their babies every day. Some just do it after a bath, while others prefer it after a nappy change. Some even choose to do it twice a day. There is no ideal number of times a baby should be massaged. You should follow your baby’s moves and sings and massage your baby as long as he enjoys it. 

For How Long Should I Massage My Baby?

This will change as your baby grows. Some babies love massage right from the start, so you can take your time for a full body massage that can take around 20 minutes. 

Reading your baby’s cues is the most important aspect of massage. Your baby will tell you when the massage needs to end and which strokes he likes or dislikes.  

When Is The Best Time To Massage Your Baby During The Day?

As mentioned above, you should choose a time when you and your baby are feeling relaxed. Generally, babies are massaged just after their bath. But you can massage your baby at any time of the day when he isn’t hungry or tired. He’s is more likely to enjoy the massage this way. 

How Much Pressure Is Too Much When Massaging Your Baby? 

Compared to adult massage, baby massage is extremely gentle. Babies are very delicate and sensitive, so you almost don’t need to apply any pressure. Your baby massage should include very gentle touching, stroking, and stretching.  

How To Massage A Baby To Sleep?

For better sleep, massage the front and back of your baby’s ears. This activates the vagus, which causes the body to relax. 

How To Massage A Baby To Relax?

You can help your baby relax by gently running your fingers down the baby’s arms and legs, in the direction away from the heart.

How To Massage A Baby To Increase Energy?

Softly massage the muscles towards the heart to bring on wakefulness or increase energy.  

How To Massage A Baby To Improve Digestion?

Slightly stroke the tummy in a circular motion. Clockwise strokes will help alleviate constipation, whereas counterclockwise strokes will help with diarrhea. 

If you’re not sure about your baby’s poop, read this article to indicate the health of your baby: IS MY NEWBORN’S POOP COLOR NORMAL

How To Massage A Baby To Help Develop Motor Skills?

To help develop your baby’s motor skills you can touch your baby’s left hand to his right foot and vice versa. 

Another tip is to make circles with your baby’s arms and legs, as well as bring them together and apart.   

How to Massage Your Baby’s Head?

Start with your hands on both sides of your baby’s head, then run your hands down both sides of his body, from his head to his toes. Then, draw tiny circles on your baby’s head with your fingertips. 

What Should You Keep In Mind When Massaging Your Baby’s Head?

You need to take some precautions and be very gentle with your newborn’s head as their skull bones will not have fused yet. You will notice soft spots that sometimes palpate. These are called fontanelles. Take a look at this picture here:

Newborn-Babys-Soft-Spot

There are two soft spots, a larger one on the top and a smaller one at the back of your baby’s head. The smaller one closes by the time your baby is about six weeks old, but the larger one closes only by the time your baby is about 18 months old.  Never apply any pressure on these spots while giving your baby a head massage as long as they are still soft.  

How to Massage Your Baby’s Face?

To massage your baby’s face, gently fold your hands (as if you were praying) on your baby’s forehead, then gently push outward from the center. Next, use your thumb to draw a smile on your baby’s face by stroking from one cheek, across the upper lip to the other cheek. Then repeat the same on the lower lip. 

Baby Foot Reflexology

Baby's-feet-reflex-zones---Baby-Reflexology
Baby’s Feet Reflex Zones – Baby Reflexology

Babies are especially responsive to reflexology. Many moms will instinctively rub their children’s feet and hands when their child is cranky, crying, or uncomfortable. In fact, reflexology works very well for most babies. It is effective and safe and ut is based on the principle that reflex points found on the feet and hands correspond to specific organs. muscles, bones, and body systems. 

You can use reflexology as a natural healing therapy for acute illnesses as well as a preventive maintenance tool for good health. You can try working on your baby as part of your massage routine. 

How to do reflexology with your baby?

  • Use gentle pressure while massaging your baby’s feet.
  • Stop if your baby pulls his foot away and not enjoying it. Reflex points can be sensitive when the child is sick.
  • Work no longer than 5-10 minutes for the entire treatment. 

Bottom Line, 

There are different kinds of massages. Leg, belly, arm, neck, and colic-relief massages. All these are good for your baby. Just be careful not to press against the skin too hard. On average, a massage can last 10 to 15 minutes. Your baby really enjoys massages and will easily sleep away once you are done and even as you go on. Baby massages are exciting times to bond with your baby.

Related:

WHAT ARE THE FIRST SIGNS OF TEETHING?

7 THINGS I REGRET NOT BUYING FOR MY BABY

MOMMY MISTAKES THAT YOU SHOULD NEVER DO WITH YOUR NEWBORN

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