Baby massage can be a wonderful experience for both you and your baby and a nice time to bond.
Set the scene – create a nice relaxed atmosphere and make sure there are no distractions for you and your baby. If you would like to play music, make sure its in the background so your baby can hear your voice.
Get ready – Select your baby massage oil or baby moisturiser, have a towel laid out for your baby to be on, along with a muslin and fresh nappy ready.
Your baby can be completely naked, with just a nappy on or you might prefer to keep her vest on if you think it is a little cool.
When is the best time? – Try to choose a time when your baby is between feeds so she won’t be too hungry or too full. Also select a time when your baby is alert, not too sleepy as they will probably nap afterwards.
Giving a massage – It is a good idea to follow the same routine when massaging as your baby will take comfort from knowing what is coming next. Make eye contact with your baby while you are massaging, talk softly or sing rhymes as you go through the message. You baby may not be happy with parts of the massage and start to cry, stop that area and pick up and give a cuddle. Remember this actually can be a tiring experience for them, so you may just give short massages focused on selected areas.
How to give a baby massage
- Begin by applying some oil onto your hands. Rub together to warm them up
- Starting with the legs, gently rub your baby’s skin. Work from her thighs down to her knees, then stroke down the shins and move around to her calves and ankles. Gently squeeze all the way down
- Rub your baby’s ankles and feet, stroking from the heel to the toe and then concentrate on each toe individually
- Gently stroke down your baby’s chest, following the curves of her ribs. Place your hands flat on top of her stomach then spread them to the sides, as if flattening the pages of a book. Once you have massaged your baby’s front, turn her over and work on her back (if she is happy being on her front)
- Stroke down her arms to her fingertips then, using your fingers and thumb, gently squeeze all along her arm, beginning at the top
- Gently massage your baby’s neck from her ears to her shoulders and from her chin to her chest, then stroke her shoulders from her neck outwards
- Lightly massage the crown of your baby’s head using a circular motion, then stroke down the sides of her face. Gently massage her forehead, working from the centre out and moving over the eyebrows and cheeks to finish around the ears
What are the benefits of baby massage? It can soothe an unsettled baby and make her feel secure.
It can also ease minor digestive upsets such as wind and it can ease teething pains and congestion on the chest. Massaging her face can help to clear a blocked nose if she has a cold.