How To Tap Into The Magical Benefits Of Baby Massage
‘Baby massage’ is one of those parenting buzzwords; but trust me, it’s not just a fad. Women in India, Asia, Africa, and parts of the Americas have been doing it for centuries: it’s simple, natural, and incredibly powerful!
Why? Well, massage can soothe and relax Baby, improve sleep patterns, reduce colic and crying, improve immune response, strengthen Baby’s muscles and joints, keep Baby’s skin nourished and supple, and aid her development. Not to mention the emotional and bonding benefits…
Let’s put your hands to work! To get started, take off your rings, play soothing music, and make sure that you are comfortable and free from distractions. Check the room temperature: if you are totally comfortable with only short-sleeves, Baby should be fine without additional heating. When you’re ready to start, sit or kneel on a cushion on the floor with a soft, firm surface in front of you. Take off Baby’s clothes and nappy, and place her on a soft, clean towel on the massage surface with her feet facing your body.
Now to get massaging!
There are many ways to massage babies, the important thing is to listen to your instincts and observe a few basic guidelines:
- Make sure you are relaxed and feeling confident – Baby picks up on stress.
- Introduce massage gradually; don’t overwhelm Baby with all the techniques at once!
- Start off with 30 minute massage sessions and then lengthen or shorten them to suit Baby.
- Wait an hour after feeding or Baby might vomit – but don’t wait until she’s too hungry to enjoy the massage.
- Use easily absorbed, low odour oil, not aromatherapy oils. Put a little bit on a small patch of skin on the inside of Baby’s arm and leave it for 24 hours to check that it doesn’t cause a reaction – and preferably use organic, all-natural massage oil.
- The smaller Baby is, the lighter your strokes – but be careful, little babies don’t like tickling sensations!
- Always massage Baby’s tummy clockwise.
- Maintain eye contact with Baby and keep one hand in contact with him at all times.
- If Baby is sick or has a fever, only massage her hands and feet.
- Oil can make Baby slippery, be careful of dropping her! When you’ve finished with the massage, wrap her in a towel before carrying her around.
Massages don’t have to be timed and scheduled. My advice: include them in your everyday activities.
- Bathroom time –when you change Baby’s nappy, stroke her tummy, legs, and feet with or without oil
- Bath time– an ideal time because Baby is already naked; either massage her after his bath, or while you’re soaping her body
- Bedtime– this will help Baby to relax and feel safe and secure; you can establish a special bedtime routine
And don’t forget the most important ingredient: love. Happy massaging!