The Benefits of Baby Massage
In many hospitals and birth centers, newborns are places on the mother’s chest to give them as much skin-to skin contact as possible. Gentle and loving touch can help small babies grow stronger and feel less anxiety. Infants who experience routine touch show 50% more eye contact and are 3 times more likely to have an overall positive expression than infants who do not.
Infant massage may soothe your baby and reduce his/her crying, aid digestion and help relieve colic, gas and constipation, increase daily weight gain, enhance your baby’s adjustment to nighttime sleep, and help him/her sleep more deeply, relieve nasal congestion and teething discomfort, help develop good muscle tone, coordination and suppleness, enhance body awareness, boost the immune system, improve skin texture, help calm and relax both you and your baby, and boost your confidence.
How To Massage a Baby
A gentle massage can calm your baby, aid in his/her development and even help him/her sleep better. All it takes is a few minutes and these five easy steps.
8 Baby Massage Tips & Tricks
- Choose a time when your baby is awake and alert, not too hungry or too full.
- Ensure the room is warm and lighting not too bright.
- Have what you need ready: baby massage oil or lotion, towel, clean diapers and clothes.
- Wash your hands and remove jewelry.
- Find a comfortable place to massage so they can see your face clearly.
- Before starting, relax with a few full breaths — this can help your baby relax too.
- Babies are always changing. Some may feel more secure if they’re close to their parents.
- Use baby oil or lotion and glide comfortably over baby’s skin.
WARNING: Keep all products out of reach of children. Keep any baby oil out of children’s reach to avoid drinking and accidental inhalation, which can cause serious injury. Should breathing problems occur, consult a doctor immediately.
At six weeks, your baby is starting to become even more engaging which makes baby massage even more meaningful! Here are a few baby massage techniques to get you started.
A baby tummy massage helps baby feel safe and secure and can help with tummy troubles. Gently make paddling strokes on the tummy, with one hand following the other.
A baby face massage can help relax tension caused by sucking, crying and with the discomfort of teething. Make small circles along the jaw with your fingertips.
Gentle massage of the chest can help relieve congestion problems. With both hands at the center of the chest stroke out to the sides as if you were flattening the pages of a book. Keeping contact with your baby, glide your hands down, around and meeting in the center again.
Sometimes babies can hold a lot of tension in their bodies and this baby massage technique on the arms and legs encourages the baby to relax. Gently mold your hands around your baby's arm or leg, asking baby to relax. Using a calm voice repeat the word ‘relax’.
Using the pads of your thumbs gently open their hand, roll each tiny finger between your index finger and thumb and finally stroke the top of their hand from the wrist to the fingertips.
Back massage can encourage strengthening of the neck, shoulders and arms as baby lifts their head; as well as having a calming and relaxing effect. With baby on his/her front, start with both hands together at the top of the back, at right angles to the spine. Move your hands back and forth, going down the back to the buttocks, then up to the shoulders.