Pamper Your Baby With A Massage
Think back on when your tummy was so large you couldn’t see your feet anymore, but you knew they were there because you could FEEL them, and it wasn’t a pleasant feeling. They are swollen and sore and all you can think about is how you wish you had something to massage your feet… AKA your significant other.
Your emotions were all over the place and you might have even cried a bunch, wouldn’t you have wanted a massage to just make everything feel better?
Now think of your baby that’s experiencing all kinds of new feelings, emotions, and a whole new world…
a massage just might be the perfect way to make them feel better as well.
Give your baby what you couldn’t have. Even babies like to be massaged.
Now keep in mind that a baby massage is quite different than an adult massage. You don’t want to apply a lot of pressure, because your little one is well… little, and delicate. It is more like smoothing your baby’s skin.
Did you know massaging your baby helps promote their overall health?
Massage is known to calm colic, promote sleep, relieve gas and constipation, lower the risk of jaundice, reduce stress, lower blood pressure, boost muscle development and relax the muscles. All things you want for your baby!
On top of all the great health benefits, massage is also good for your emotional well being.
For your baby, a massage will give them a sense of safety and security.
For momma, giving your baby a massage has been known to help with postpartum depression. New momma’s who show symptoms of depression found that massaging their baby helps improve overall mood.
For daddy, this is the perfect way to bond and create trust. When daddy’s help out by massaging their baby it not only gives them another opportunity to interact with their little one but also shows signs of improved self-esteem.
How To Give Your Baby A Massage
Create the Environment
Dim the lights, put on some soft music, and make sure the room is about 75 degrees.
Now, I don’t know anyone who keeps their house at 75 degrees, so I use a small space heater in the room when I am giving a massage.
Oils and Lotions
If you are going to use oils or lotions make sure you are using a baby-friendly product that is gentle on the skin.
You don’t want to use anything that has a scent and you also want to make sure whatever you use is edible just in case your baby tries putting their hand or foot in their mouth after you’ve applied the oil/lotion to that area.
If your little one is anything like mine, the hand always goes directly to the mouth!
Start with the Feet
Use your thumb for massaging tiny feet. Start at the heel and work your way up to their teensy toes.
With the legs, you will want to start at the ankle and work your way towards the thigh. You will rub their legs using a soft spiraling motion similar to wringing out a towel. Remember to be very gentle and apply very little pressure.
On baby’s tummy take your palm and rub all around the belly button. Rub in a clockwise position, because this is the way baby’s digestive system works. You can also rub across the belly diagonally, like you are drawing an ‘x’.
For the chest you will create a heart with your palms. Start at the center of the chest and move your palms outwards creating the heart shape.
Massage the arms just as you did the legs. Use the same form of motion as if you are wringing out a towel.
Then you move towards their hands. Use your thumb to make little circles on the baby’s palms and then stroke the fingers, do not pull them.
Start with your two index fingers at the center of baby’s forehead and glide outwards down to the chin. Then for their cheeks use your thumbs to create small circles.
It is very important to remember your baby’s head is very delicate. You will massage their head with your fingertips, like you are applying shampoo.
Finish with the Backside
Flip your baby onto their tummy, keeping their arms out in from of them.
Use clockwise circle motions on their shoulders.
For baby’s back you will take two fingers. Place your fingers on the sides of your baby’s spine and bring them downwards.
Make sure you do not put your fingers directly on the spine.
Things to Keep in Mind
A baby massage doesn’t need to be any longer than 5 minutes. Be mindful of the cues your baby is giving you, if they don’t like something, don’t do it.
Try moving onto the next area and if baby still isn’t happy then they probably are not in the mood for a massage. I know… seems a little crazy to NOT want a massage but babies will be babies.
You want to avoid giving your baby a massage after eating, because this can actually cause an upset stomach and spit-up.
For best results try making a massage part of your normal routine. I have found the best time for me to give my baby a massage is right after bath time (For bath time tips click here.) and before bed.
When you are massaging your baby make sure you are interacting with them: smile, talk or sing to them.
Remember this is a bonding experience for you and your baby. Relax and enjoy these moments.
Disclaimer: I’m not a trained professional by any means, just a momma trying to make her baby feel better and more relaxed. Please contact your pediatrician if you have any concerns or questions about massaging infants.