If you are convinced about the benefits of baby massages, here is a step by step guide on how to massage your baby.
1. Prepare the tools
To give your baby a message, you need massage oil, towels, baby clothes, and nappy change. If want to use natural oil instead of baby oil, vegetable oil is good as they are kinder to a baby’s sensitive skin. However, avoid oils if your baby has eczema. In this case, use dermatologist prescribed cream. On the whole, avoid mustard oil and peanut oil as they cause unwanted problems.
2. Find a quiet room
Dedicate a quiet and private space to give your baby a massage. Dim the lights. Set the temperature to cool but not cold. This is important especially if your baby will be naked. You don’t want her to catch a cold. Next, turn off any mobile devices or tablets. Forget about the baby monitor. You can play some soothing music too!
3. Start the massage
First, place a towel or a mat on the massaging surface before you place your baby on top. Apply some massage oil on your palms and warm the oil by rubbing your palms together. After that, rub the oil into your baby’s skin gently and slowly, while avoiding the eyes, nostrils, and lips. Once your baby is properly oiled, she is ready for the massage.
How to massage your baby:
Chest and tummy
- Press both hands flat against the centre of her body and slowly spread them to the side of her body.
- Stroke outwards in a circular motion.
- Repeat the motions.
- Slowly work your way up by starting with the feet.
- Gently squeeze foot, calves, thighs. You can also use gliding motions.
- Lightly pinch her toenails.
- Repeat the motions.
Arms and hands
- Slowly work your way down her arm.
- Lightly squeeze her arms and hands.
- Move your thumb in circular motion around her palm.
- Do the same for each of her fingernails.
- Lightly pinch her fingernails.
If you don’t like the messiness of oil, you can go with a dry massage. Keep your baby’s clothes on. Instead of using gliding motions, you can lightly squeeze her muscles starting from top of the body to the bottom.
4. Listen to your baby
The most important thing when giving a massage is to take cues from your baby. You don’t want to be too harsh or too light. Moreover, some areas are more sensitive that other areas; some areas require more pressure than others. Hence, notice your baby’s reaction to the type of massage given and adjust accordingly. Stop when your baby is restless or crying. Most importantly, choose the right time to give your baby a massage. This is when is she quiet but alert. Therefore, she will be ready to interact with you.
Knowing how to massage your baby requires practice, but can be rewarding once your master the skill!