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When Do You Start With Baby Massage?

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  • October 30, 2020
  • MKB Team
  • comment 3

What is a baby massage?

A baby or newborn massage is a wonderful way to express love and care for your baby.  A massage is the gentle stroking of your baby’s body using a lotion or oil. This can soothe your baby and help her sleep well. This also provides an avenue for the baby to bond with you. 

Benefits of a baby oil massage

Apart from the advantage of soothing the baby and providing a means of bonding, there are a plethora of baby oil massage benefits: 

  • Relaxes your baby. A baby body massage stimulates the release of oxytocin that reduces stress and makes your baby happy. It stimulates their growth and relieves discomfort due to colic. 
  • Stimulates the nervous system. Massaging your baby helps in her motor skills development.
  • Helps your baby sleep better. Infants who are massaged sleep better. When massaged just before bedtime, melatonin is produced, which helps them sleep.
  • Aids weight gain. Massaging your baby helps in weight gain and aids in digestion. Massaging also relieves gas and constipation.
  • Improves blood circulation.
  • Helps to deal with postpartum depression. Massage can be an effective way to deal with postnatal depression. Studies have shown that regular massages have improved the mother’s mood and behaviour. 
  • Boosts social and psychological development. Stimulation of the baby’s sense of touch through baby massage steps not only helps in strengthening the bond between the parents and the baby but also has a positive effect on psychosocial development.
  • Stable brain activity. Premature babies who are massaged regularly have shown more stable brain activity than those who are not massaged regularly.
  • Baby massage enhances learning. Studies have shown that massages promote alertness as well as better responses to audio-visual stimuli.

What is the best time to massage my baby? 

Massaging a baby should be done when she is active, rested, and happy. Always allow a time-gap of forty five minutes after a feeding session before you massage your baby. This will ensure that your baby is neither too full nor hungry. Also, give about fifteen minutes before you feed your baby after a massage to allow her body to relax completely. It is best to schedule your massage before tucking them in for bedtime for maximum benefit. Some people prefer to massage their babies before bathing them, in order to be able to wash off the oils. You can also massage your baby after a bath in case your doctor recommends it for dry skin. 

When is the right age to begin baby massages?

Some recommendations insist on beginning baby massages after the age of one month. This is to avoid loss of moisture from the baby’s delicate skin. After the first month, the baby’s skin becomes thicker and you can begin massages after consulting your pediatrician. 

What do I need before I begin a  baby massage?

Many may wonder how to do baby massage. A baby massage requires the following setup:

  • A well-lit room with plenty of natural light.
  • A controlled temperature within the room. Babies tend to become cranky if it gets too hot and may not want to be rubbed all over. If possible, keep the room at a comfortable temperature and well ventilated.
  • Sit on a bed or carpet with a towel placed in front of you. Place the baby over the towel while massaging to absorb excess oil.
  • While selecting a suitable massage oil, make sure it is not scented and only has natural fragrances. 
  • Massaging a baby without her nappy ensures that every part of her is oiled and massaged, however, be prepared for peeing or pooping accidents!

Which oil should I use for a baby massage?

Any odourless and edible oil is suitable for a baby massage, in case the baby ingests some of it. 

You can ask your pediatrician for recommendations.

Baby massage tips

Here are a few baby massage tips and tricks to make a baby massage most effective and stress-free:

  • Avoid massaging the face. This prevents the risk of accidentally ingesting or inhaling the oil.
  • Avoid the top of the head. The fontanelles or the place where the bones of the skull unite are still soft and open in infants and should be avoided.
  • Limit the amount of time you spend massaging. Around fifteen minutes is sufficient for a whole body massage in an infant.
  • Always check with the baby before you begin. The baby will give you clues if he is in the mood for a massage. Look for cues by gently rubbing his ears or tummy with some oil. If he pushes your hand away or tries to turn away, wait until he is ready. Also, know when to stop. If she is crying, squirming, or has fallen asleep, it signals the end.  Do not force a baby to be massaged.
  • Avoid deep tissue massages. A baby’s body is very delicate and requires a gentle touch.
  • Be careful while picking up an oily baby. This can make them slippery and holding them requires extra caution.

Baby Massage Step by Step Procedure:

Here is the baby massage step by step procedure:

  1. Begin with the baby’s legs: Rub some oil on your hands. Massage the heels up to the toes. Gently press the tip of each toe with your thumb and make clockwise circles on the sole. Lift the baby’s leg and make strokes from the ankle to the thigh.
  2. Massaging the baby’s arms: This pattern is similar to the legs. Make circular strokes on the palm and gently massage each finger. Proceed with strokes from the wrist towards the arm. Mimic a mild wringing action as you go up.
  3. Chest and shoulder massage: Make parallel strokes on the chest from the middle to either side of the chest. Make strokes beginning from the shoulder and going towards the chest and back. 
  4. Tummy massage: This is very important as it helps in relieving gas and colic. Begin with downward strokes from below the chest towards the pelvis. Then make circular movements clockwise using your fingers around the belly button.
  5. Face and head massage: Begin by tracing your baby’s eyebrows, nose and chin Then make a heart shape beginning from the centre of your forehead and ending on the chin. The head can be massaged as you would for an adult, but gently, avoiding the fontanelles.

Back massage: Place your baby on her belly with hands in front of her. Gently stroke her spine from the top to the buttock. Trace clockwise circles from the top all the way down.


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