Baby massage is one of the most popular parenting trends in recent years. It is an excellent way to bond with your baby and help them develop physically and emotionally. Baby massage is a form of relaxation and comfort in which you gently touch your baby’s skin or hold your baby while rubbing his or her back, arms, and legs. However, many parents lack massaging skills and do not feel confident about massaging the baby. So if you are among one of them and want to know how to massage a baby, this guide is especially for you! From the benefits of massage to massaging steps, we have discussed everything below.
- Infant Massage Therapy
- How to Baby Massage
- Best Time For Baby Massage
- Baby Massage Oil
- Benefits of Baby Massage
- Tips for Baby Massage
- Importance of Baby Massage
- Health Benefits of Baby Massage
What is Infant Massage Therapy?
In This Article
- What is Infant Massage Therapy?
- How to Give Massage to a Newborn Baby?
- When Should You Start Massaging your Baby?
- Which Massage Oil is Best for Baby?
- What are the Benefits of Baby Massage?
- 11 Quick Tips for Baby Massage
- Why is it important to massage a baby?
- What are the Health Benefits of Baby Massage?
- When to stop baby massage?
Infant massage therapy is a form of touch-based therapy that is safe and healthy for newborns and infants. It is a gentle, nurturing touch that stimulates physical and emotional growth in infants. The main aim of newborn massage is to provide a relaxing experience to babies, which will help them adjust to their new environment.
Baby massage is an easy and gentle way to soothe your baby. It can also have a calming effect on your baby, especially in times when they are having trouble sleeping. It also provides an opportunity for you to show love and affection to your child. Massages can be performed on any area of the body from head to toe, including the arms, legs, hands, feet, and even fingers!
How to Give Massage to a Newborn Baby?
Due to numerous benefits, massaging babies is becoming more common these days, but there is no guideline for newborn massage. Nevertheless, it is also important that you massage your baby in a way that is comfortable for them and helps keep their body temperature stable. However, several massage techniques can be used on infants with great effects. If you want to give your baby a soothing, pleasurable experience through baby massage, here is how to do it:
Step By Step Guide How to do Baby Massage
- Step1: Choose the Right Time
- Step 2: Start Massaging the Feet
- Step 3: Massage the Legs
- Step 4: Start Tummy Massage
- Step 5: Arm Massage
- Step 6: Massaging Chest and Shoulders
- Step 7: Head and Face Massage
- Step 8: Back Massage
Step1: Choose the Right Time
- Before you start messaging your baby, make sure that he is in good mood. If you will choose a time when the baby is fussy or irritated, he will not enjoy the massage. Also, it will become difficult for you to give him a peaceful massage. Thus, you should first seek permission from the baby for massage.
- You can do this by applying a little amount of oil or lotion and rubbing it on the baby’s tummy. If the baby feels uncomfortable or resists, he might not be ready for it. But, if the baby is comfortable and does not grumbles, then it is the right time, go ahead with the massage.
Step 2: Start Massaging the Feet
- To begin with, first, massage the baby’s feet. Take a few drops of oil on your palm and start rubbing gently baby’s sole. Use slow and tender pressure and start stroking from the heel towards the toe.
- First, give a massage with your thumbs. Now, slowly follow circular motion with your palms over the whole foot of the baby. Do the same for both the foot separately. However, make sure not to put too much pressure while massaging the toe tip.
- Give gentle and light massage, this will aid in the stimulation of nerve endings. You can check if you are being gentle in massaging by the way your baby is responding. If he is getting uncomfortable, lighten up the pressure.
Step 3: Massage the Legs
- Once you are finished with the foot massage, proceed towards the legs. First, lift one leg of the baby by holding the ankle. Now make gentle strokes on the ankle and slowly move towards the thighs.
- With light pressure, start massaging from thighs towards the foot. Gently force your baby’s knees up towards their tummy while holding them.
- Now keep your one hand around her thigh in C-shape and massage the baby thigh down to the foot.
- Finish the leg massage by stroking down from hip to foot with both hands moving in opposite directions, with both hands gripping the leg at the thigh, one hand above another.
Step 4: Start Tummy Massage
- After a relaxing leg massage, you have to start with a tummy massage. Here you have to apply the lightest pressure as it is the most delicate part. Your stroke should start at the top of the belly, just below the chest bone.
- However, while massaging the tummy, it is recommended to avoid the belly button. Just, move your fingers clockwise around her belly button.
- Further again, press the knees gently up against her belly. Also, rotate the baby’s hips to the right a few times.
Step 5: Arm Massage
- The pattern for arm massage is somewhat similar to leg massage. Begin with the baby’s hands by taking few drops of oil on your palm.
- Massage the baby’s hand by moving your thumb in circular strokes. Then, slowly apply very light pressure and gently stroke from wrist to fingertips. Softly rub the back of the baby’s hand with straight strokes towards the wrist after turning the hand around.
- Then, in a circular motion, rub the wrists as if you were putting on bangles. Stroke off from shoulder to wrist with both hands moving in opposite directions, with each hand grasping her arm one right above another.
- Similarly use gentle circular movements to massage the entire arm.
Step 6: Massaging Chest and Shoulders
- For chest massage, move outward from your baby’s sternum to shoulder with both hands on the baby’s chest.
- Now bring both your hands to the sternum and massage in heart shape motion from shoulders to downwards.
- Further, position both hands in the middle of your baby’s chest and massage outwards to the lateral side of the body and keep repeating.
- To massage the shoulders, gently massage the baby’s chest from the left and right shoulders in a clockwise direction.
- Be tender while massaging the shoulders, do not pull them with force.
Step 7: Head and Face Massage
- Massage your baby’s face with just your fingers. Stroke from the center of the forehead outwards, across the eyes, and down into the cheeks.
- Make use of your fingertips to form a heart shape motion, starting from the forehead towards the chin of the baby.
- In a circular motion, lightly rub the crown of your baby’s head. Be very gentle and stroke outwards on closed eyelids.
- Move your fingers over the cheeks from the tip of the nose.
- Massage the jaw in circular motions with your fingertips.
- Head massage goes just like shampooing the baby’s hair.
- Slowly massage the scalp but avoid the soft spot.
Step 8: Back Massage
- This is the final step in massaging the baby. Place the baby horizontally in front of you on his or her tummy.
- Trace clockwise patterns on the baby’s upper back with your fingertips, pushing the movements gradually towards the hips.
- Push each hand back and forth on the back of the infant, with them moving in opposite directions.
- Massage in tiny circles down one side of the baby’s backbone and up another with your fingertips.
- With large circular movements, massage her hips. Repeat these strokes for few minutes.
When Should You Start Massaging your Baby?
Many parents question if they should massage their children from the time they are born or wait until they are older. Experts suggest that it is best to begin infant massage during the first three months of life. This means you can begin massaging your baby within the first few weeks of birth.
However, before starting the newborn massage. Always ensure that baby is not fussy or in bad mood. Also, do not start massaging just after feeding the baby. It can cause vomiting. Ideally, you should wait for at least 45mins after feeding the baby to ensure a joyful massaging experience for you and the baby.
Massaging your baby from the early days will help your child develop a sense of trust and security. It can help develop their cognitive abilities, help them be more relaxed and soothed which in turn reduces crying and fussing.
Which Massage Oil is Best for Baby?
When it comes to baby massage, there are a variety of oils that can be used. Depending on the ingredients and the child’s age, each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. If you are massaging your baby during summers then it will best if you go for coconut or sesame oil. As they are light in texture and can be easily absorbed in the skin leaving the skin non-greasy. Whereas in winters, choosing almond oil or mustard oil will help to gain maximum benefits from baby massage. Almond oil is rich in vitamin E, thus it will keep the baby’s skin soft and smooth for longer.
What are the Benefits of Baby Massage?
Several theories are surrounding the benefits of baby massage. They all center on the premise that massage has a positive effect on a child’s well-being and development. There are some advantages to massaging newborns that you should be aware of so that you can make a more informed choice about whether or not to massage your infant.
Let us have a look at the 10 Benefits of Baby Massage:
- Baby Massage Provides Relaxation
- Baby Massage Improves Immune System
- Baby Massage Encourages Bonding with Baby
- Baby Massage Reduces Cry-time
- Baby Massage Help in Quality Sleep
- Baby Massage is a Way to Communicate with Baby
- Baby Massage Nurtures the Body and Mind
- Baby Massage Relieves Discomfort
- Baby Massage Nourishes Baby’s Skin
- Baby Massage is Good for Digestion
Baby Massage Provides Relaxation
Giving your child a baby massage will enable them to relax and relieve discomfort. It is a proven fact that a massage is an important tool for mind and body relaxation. Babies are more responsive to touch than adults, making them ideal targets for massage. While massaging you apply gentle pressure to the skin and underlying tissues of a baby to relieve stress and promote relaxation. It is a safe, non-invasive way of promoting endorphin release in your infant. Baby Massage is also helpful in soothing the baby back to sleep if he/she wakes up at night.
Baby Massage Improves Immune System
A healthy immune system is the most important aspect of a baby’s growth. Baby massage is one of the best ways to develop a strong immune system in your child. New research suggests that baby massage therapy can have an impact on a baby’s immune system, boosting its ability to fight illness. The immune system of a newborn baby is not sufficiently mature to prevent infections. Massage acts on the nervous system, which in turn acts on the immune system. Thus, to boost the immune system of your little one, pampering him/her with a daily massage routine is the best you can do for them.
Baby Massage Encourages Bonding with Baby
The advantages of baby massage should not be overlooked. Baby massage promotes bonding and is a wonderful way to connect with your child at any age. When you massage your baby, you hold the baby, you are developing a physical connection with them. Skin-to-skin contact has many benefits for both you and your baby. Baby Massage is also great for you because it offers you an opportunity to connect with your baby on a deeper level and develop a strong bond. Hence, if you want to get better acquainted with your little one, newborn massage is an exceptional idea to establish communication at a young age.
Baby Massage Reduces Cry-time
Baby massage is one of the best approaches to deal with your crying baby. You will help your newborn baby relax by rubbing and touching him or her. Massage can help babies sleep better and cry less, as well as improve their ability to concentrate, according to research. Massage boosts dopamine levels, which are known to be involved in controlling anger, aggression, temperature, mood, and appetite, among other things. Thus, if you see your baby crying and unable to identify the reason behind it, then try to give a massage of few minutes. It will be the choicest way to soothe the baby.
Baby Massage Help in Quality Sleep
The key to ensuring that babies are as happy as possible is to massage your baby. Most babies have trouble sleeping through the night and parents often struggle to get them to sleep. According to a study, the babies who practiced baby massage regularly slept better than those without massages. Many parents worry about the irregular sleeping patterns of their infant, they can try a massage at times when the baby is unable to sleep. Furthermore, if you gently massage the baby in circular movements after bathing the baby. It helps the baby to sleep better and enjoy quality sleep.
Baby Massage is a Way to Communicate with Baby
Babies communicate with us from the moment they are born. We become attuned to their needs when we listen to their cries. When you massage your baby, you can engage them with continuous eye contact, or you can grab their attention with your hand movements. It is a means to interact with your baby. This way, babies learn to communicate, and you begin to understand their body expressions. It is a great way to learn everything you can about your baby’s actions and what they are trying to tell you with their body language.
Baby Massage Nurtures the Body and Mind
Baby massage is an incredible technique to introduce a healthy and balanced aspect into the everyday routine of the baby. Although the physical benefits of baby massage are well known, it can also aid your baby’s cognitive and emotional growth. Moreover, newborn massage is a proven strategy for improving muscle tone and range of motion in newborns. Massage can strengthen muscle tone and range, loosen ligament tightness, make your baby feel more at ease in their skin, increase blood and oxygen flow through the body, improve digestion, and help your baby sleep better.
Baby Massage Relieves Discomfort
Did you know there is a way to help your teething baby without resorting to drugs? Yes, a special type of facial massage is also beneficial in reducing the pain during the teething. It triggers the release of endorphins, which makes babies feel more at ease and calms them. Baby massage will not only help your baby fall asleep, but it can also help your baby relieves discomfort from problems like colic, reflux, and constipation.
Baby Massage Nourishes Baby’s Skin
If you are looking for a natural and safe way to nurture your baby’s skin, look no further than massage. With a lot of body changes happening in a baby’s body within just a few months, the skin can get dry and itchy. To get rid of this baby massage is a good option, which promotes healthy blood flow and nourishes the skin. Therefore, a natural method to maintain the glow of the young skin of your little one is to give them a relaxing massage. Often massaging your baby with a regular massage oil will provide the necessary moisture to the skin and will keep it soft and smooth.
Baby Massage is Good for Digestion
Last but not least, giving your baby a massage will help in improving his or her digestion system and avoid being fussy due to an upset tummy. It is because massaging the abdomen during digestion relieves gas, bloating, and discomfort. Constipation relief can also be achieved by massaging infants. In the bowels and intestines of babies and infants, there is a lot of movement. Massaging also aids digestion and stimulates bowel movements. Besides, constipation relief can also be achieved by massaging infants.
11 Quick Tips for Baby Massage
Baby massage is an effective way to calm a crying infant while still spending extra time with your baby. You may not be familiar with all the ins and outs of baby massage, whether you’re a first-time parent or an experienced parent.
To get you started, here are 11 baby massage tips for a joyful baby massage session:
- Without any doubt, massaging a baby has exceptional results in the overall development of the baby. Thus, make it a daily routine to give a quick infant massage to your baby.
- Though using oil for massage is optional as many parents find it messy. But if you are using it, make sure it is healthy for the baby’s skin. Do not use oil that contains harsh chemicals or strong fragrances. Oils with toxic ingredients can cause skin allergies.
- For massaging the baby, choose a comfortable and cozy place. It is better to place a soft towel on the table and then place the baby on it. Also, you can play calming music to soothe yourself and the baby as well.
- Don’t forget to be gentle while massaging. Keep in mind that the baby’s skin is delicate and soft. Harsh massage strokes can cause redness on the baby’s skin.
- To make the massaging experience more enjoyable and fun for the baby, keep talking and laughing. This way, the baby will be engaged with you and you will form a good bond with him or her.
- Before undressing the baby for massage, do all the preparations. It may include a wiping cloth, new clothes, etc. Also, keep the bedding ready if you are giving the massage before bedtime.
- If you find the baby to be uncomfortable due to any stroke during the massage, do not practice it again and stop there and then.
- Fix a time for the massage. It will be best if you give the baby massage to your child at the same time daily. The baby will be used to it and will be expecting the massage daily. Also, do not choose to massage the baby just after feeding.
- Feel confident and stay relaxed while massaging the baby. The more comfortable and calm you will be, the more pleasant and happy experience is going to be.
- Always pay attention to how your baby is responding during the massage sessions. For better interaction with the baby, make frequent eye contact. You can also choose to involve your partner during the massage.
- Trying massage before bedtime and after the bath to gain maximum benefits from it. It will ensure a sound sleep for the baby.
Why is it important to massage a baby?
Studies have shown that massage can have a positive impact on the health of babies. Baby massage has many therapeutic benefits for babies from both a physical and emotional perspective. Some people believe that baby massage helps to promote a stronger attachment between child and caregiver, while others use it simply as a way to relieve baby’s aches and pains or to help them fall asleep. Whatever the reason, baby massage can be a useful skill for any parent. Thus, baby massage is more than just a feel-good activity. It is an important process to bond with your child, and it may even help them reach specific developmental milestones.
Massage is particularly important and beneficial for premature babies. Massaging premature babies is good for health and well-being because it can help them gain weight, grow stronger, and also boost their long-term outcomes. It can be a good alternative to regulate the heart rate and blood circulation of a premature baby.
What are the Health Benefits of Baby Massage?
The best thing a parent can do for their child is to care for them and encourage healthy development both physically and mentally. Babies who are massaged daily are seen to be healthier, happier, and more responsive. Baby Massage can help to fight common health concerns in babies like:
5 Health Benefits of Baby Massage:
- Helps During Cough
- Helping in Constipation
- Stop Hiccups Easily
- Helps in Teething
- Helpful in Jaundice
Helps During Cough
Massage therapy can also help a baby who is suffering from congestion, cough, flu, or other common ailments to feel better. Every parent knows a stuffy or congested nose can be extremely uncomfortable for your little one. Besides, it can intervene with their sleep, appetite, and mood, making them grumpy and unhappy. To deal with this situation, take some oil in your palm, rub for a few seconds to make your hands warmer. Now massage the baby’s chest in a small circular motion. Also, you can massage the feet of the baby so that the heat is generated to help the baby breathing with a congested nose.
Helping in Constipation
Infant constipation is a relatively common condition among infants. Constipation in a baby can be very uncomfortable. It is usually accompanied by severe abdominal cramps and pain. Most babies have problems with constipation in their first six months. The baby’s digestive system is not yet fully developed, thus they face constipation issues. A good massage can help to relieve constipation and promote better bowel habits in babies. Massaging the baby’s body and gently stimulating the abdomen is a great way to stimulate the colon and encourage the movement of the bowels.
Stop Hiccups Easily
Hiccups are a normal and irritating problem. They mainly affect babies and infants, but they may also affect adults on occasion. Involuntary contractions of the diaphragm, the muscle layer that separates the chest cavity from the abdomen, causing hiccups. As strange as it may sound, massaging the baby’s tummy can help relieve hiccups and the pain associated with gas. For this, massage the lower back of the baby in a circular motion, while holding him in an upright position. However, do not apply too much pressure while massaging, remember to be gentle. In case if this does not work, place the baby on the ground and allow him or her to roll about on the stomach. Hiccups may often be stopped right away by applying pressure.
Helps in Teething
Teething is a natural part of the developmental process and can cause pain in your baby’s mouth, gums, and even his ears. There are many teething remedies out there. One thing that has been proven to work is baby massage. The massage helps the baby to calm and relax. It also helps with the pain associated with teething. Massing the gums of the baby aids in reducing anxiety. If your baby is irritated during teething, try giving him a tender gum massage. But before you put your hand in the baby’s mouth, make sure your hands are clean.
Helpful in Jaundice
Jaundice is a yellowish discoloration in the skin and eyes that can appear in healthy infants. It is caused when a baby’s body has trouble removing bilirubin, which is a product of red blood cell breakdown. Here, baby massage can help in reducing bilirubin. Though keep in mind that the baby massage will not cure Jaundice but will help in the treatment process. Moreover, it will help in relieving the discomfort in babies caused by Jaundice. Nevertheless, it is suggested to first, consult the pediatrician and then follow massage sessions during jaundice.
When to stop baby massage?
Baby massage is a great tool to soothe, calm, relax, and gently help your baby drift off into sleep. However, there will come a time when the massage just doesn’t work and your baby refuses the process. It is time to stop massaging the baby. If your baby resits your strokes, becomes grumpy, or starts crying, then you should finish the massage session there and then.
Many parents stay in doubt for how long they should keep giving the massage to the baby. According to experts, a 15mins baby massage session is enough for babies. If the baby is enjoying you can extend it for few minutes. As the baby grows up, this duration may be reduced depending upon certain factors. At the same time, there is no age bar for giving the massage to the baby. You can massage your children as long as it suits you and the baby.
Baby massage is an ancient and well-proven Indian technique. It has been practiced for thousands of years, and modern science has now shown that it has many benefits. Massage calms your baby, creates better sleep patterns, relieves pain, and helps with digestion. It also provides an opportunity for you to show love and affection to your child. Newborn Massage can be performed on any area of the body from head to toe, including the face, arms, legs, hands, feet, and even fingers!
Thus, if you want to bond with your little one along with providing him uncountable benefits then baby massage is something you must try. Using baby massage methods, you can help your baby sleep through the night, improve his immune system, and reduce his tension.