Baby massage is a great way to relax and bond with your baby, and it also has some great health benefits for your baby too, like helping your baby relax before bedtime, improving circulation and aiding digestion, so it’s definitely worthwhile learning a few tips and techniques on how to massage your new baby properly. Here’s a few pointers and some advice that we have found to be really beneficial over the years if this is something you want to try out for yourself.
Test your baby oil for irritation
Babies have sensitive skin and need carefully selected skincare products to ensure their delicate skin is protected and not exposed to any chemicals or additives. Make sure you test your baby’s skin first with a small amount of massage oil and wait at least 24 hours for any signs of irritation before you use it all over them. Here’s a great guide to the best baby massage oils available that you might want to try out.
Creating a relaxing environment
The whole point of baby massage is to calm your baby, so think carefully about where and when to try this out. After feeding isn’t generally a good idea as this is when they’ll feel more alert, making it a great time for play instead. Try to create a bit of peace and quiet – dim lights, soft music, possibly after a bath, with no clothing or a loosened nappy so that you can rub their tummy without obstruction. Get yourselves comfortable on a warm, fluffy towel and turn off overhead lights.
Start your massage
Start at the top with a gentle head and face massage – gently rub their head as if shampooing, but avoid their soft spot. Gently massage ear lobes between your finger and thumb, and trace a heart shape around their face with both your hands. Repeat each of these steps a few times if you feel that you baby is enjoying it.
Next, move on to arms and hands. Gently roll your baby’s arm between your hands moving up and down a few times before switching direction. Use your thumb to massage the palms of their hands and gently rub their fingers in turn a few times squeezing and pulling each one gently a few times.
Tummy time is the best! Start with small circular motions around the belly button in a clockwise direction, and then place your hand on their tummy and rock gently from side to side. If your baby suffers from gas you can follow this up by holding knees and feet together and pressing up towards the abdomen, and then rotating hips a few times to expel built up gas. Repeat these steps a few times.
Legs and feet need love too, and you can use the same techniques as you used on the arms and hands, even down to massaging individual toes. Again, repeat a few times as long as your baby is enjoying it.
Finish up with some skin to skin cuddle time which is always well received by babies. You might find that your baby only enjoys a massage for 10 minutes or so, but as you do it more frequently they will start to relax and enjoy it more.