Baby massage is a perfect way to bond with your baby and spend some one-on-one time with them, as well as also improving your baby’s sleep as it promotes relaxation. It involves gentle and rhythmic movement of your baby’s ankles, wrists and fingers, as well as gentle stroking of their body. There are various venues that offer baby massage sessions, but you can also do this in the comfort of your own home.
When should I start massaging my baby?
It is recommended that you start baby massage after your baby is six weeks old. After this time, your baby has had their six week check therefore meaning that any developmental issues have been identified. In addition to this, your baby’s routine should be more settled after this time making it easier to identify spaces in their routine where massage would be beneficial. You should choose to massage your baby at a time when your baby is not hungry, and it should ideally be done after a bath to help baby to relax.
Where should I massage my baby?
Find somewhere comfortable to massage your baby, ensuring that both you and baby are comfortable. You can choose to keep your baby’s nappy on or off.
What oil should I use?
It is important to choose a natural oil that is free from any fragrances and potential allergens such as nuts (for this reason, we would not recommend use of an oil containing Sweet Almond Oil). If your baby reacts to an oil that you use stop using it immediately and contact a health practitioner. Before using an oil to massage, apply a small amount of oil to a small area of your baby’s skin to ensure that your baby will not have a reaction.
How do I massage my baby?
- Rub a small amount of oil between your hands.
- Gently hold your baby’s foot and support their ankle with one hand. Lightly circle your thumb over the top of their foot. If your baby resists, they may not feel like having a massage at the moment and we would recommend you do not persist any further.
- Providing your baby doesn’t want you to stop the massage, use a gentle touch to massage your baby’s feet. Concentrate on the whole foot, gliding your fingers from the top of their feet to their toes, before concentrating on each toe individually.
- To massage your baby’s legs, stroke down each leg from their hip to their ankles, working your way from the outside of the leg to the inside alternating hands.
- Use clockwise strokes in a circular motion over your baby’s tummy. Remember to only use very light pressure.
- Gently place your hands on your baby’s chest and glide your hands towards their shoulders and down each arm.
- Gently massage the palm of your baby’s hand, remembering to support their wrist with your free hand. Circle the back of their hand with your thumb, before massaging each finger. Remember to wipe off any oil from your baby’s hands before moving to the next step to prevent your baby from ingesting any oil.
- Very delicately use your ring fingers to stroke from the centre of your baby’s eyebrows out to their hairline, gradually moving down towards the temples.
If at any stage of the massage your baby becomes restless and is not enjoying the experience, please stop the massage. You can always try again on a different day.