Baby massage is important to a baby for her growth and achieving the power of thrives. Being touched she gets confirmation that her mom is there with her and feels secure.
Through a gentle massage, a baby gets proper touching, one of the five senses that’s developed at birth.
Whether you give your baby a gentle massage to soothe her or to ease her gassy belly, it works magically for your baby and the magic is in your tender touch.
Amazing Benefits and Techniques of Baby Massage
Massage helps in your baby’s muscle development, soothes her to sleep and calm her when she is upset. Actually, it is just like a therapy that has enormous benefits for helping babies’ growth and thrives.
Well, through this article of momcandle, you will easily get to know everything about a proper baby massaging process and answers to the questions about baby massage may arise in your mind.
Table of contents:
- What is Baby Massage?
- What are the Benefits of Regular Baby Massage?
- When should I Start Baby Massage?
- What is the Best time to massage?
- How to massage a baby?
- What is Baby Massage Tips?
- Can Massage Be Beneficial in certain Medical Conditions?
What is Baby Massage?
Baby massage is one of the delightful babies’ cares which can give relaxation for both of you and creates a nice bonding between you and your baby.
In fact, it is a relaxing ritual that you can experiment on your baby’s body using a gentle but firm touch with lotion or special baby massage oils.
What are the Benefits of Regular Baby Massage?
Baby massage helps to get wonderful and enormous natural benefits for your baby’s growth and development. Benefits of massage are given below-
- All the touching and stroking help to promote baby’s bond with you.
- Helps in psychological and social development stimulating baby’s sense of touch.
- Massage boosts your baby’s muscle development by relaxing them and stimulating their growth.
- It helps your baby to sleep better producing more melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone.
- Massaging is the best way to soothe your fussy baby.
- Eases your baby’s pain due to gas, colic, teething and congestion improving the blood circulation.
- Massage is beneficiary to the digestive system as it stimulates the nerves that pass through the digestive tract.
- Boosts the immune system of your baby.
- Massaging make you feel confident in handling your baby.
When should I start baby Massage?
You should start to give a gentle massage to your baby when she is 4 weeks old. This is the ideal age to massage your baby because within this period her umbilical cord falls and the navel area dries.
Besides, at this age, her skin becomes less sensitive than birth and more responsive to touch.
What is the best time to massage?
Actually, there is no fixed time to massage. But you should select a time when you are feeling well and your baby is awake, alert, fresh in mood and neither hungry nor too full.
In fact, it is better to select a time between two feeding sessions. Because your baby won’t enjoy body massage with empty belly when she is hungry or she may spit up her food when her belly is too full. So, select a suitable time to massage your little one.
You can give a gentle massage to your baby in the morning that will make her more active and refresh. Massaging before her bath is a good option too which can make her super relax. You can also massage your baby in the evening or at night before her sleep which can soothe her to sleep.
Whatever suitable time you select to massage your baby, just do it every day around the same time if your baby allows. By this regular routine, she will expect and enjoy the body massage.
Read here: How to Take Care of a Newborn Baby
How to massage a baby?
Here are some things you should keep in mind before you start your baby massage—
- Select a safe, suitable area and ensure a comfortable temperature for both of you with normal lighting.
- Gather all necessary things such as—towel, oil, tissue, clean nappy and clothes.
- Choose special baby massage oil that is mild, unscented and edible.
- Remove jewelry and wash your hands.
- Put your baby on the changing table or on the bed or on the rug spreading a towel underneath that absorbs excess oil. Besides, ensure your baby can see your face clearly while massaging.
- Before starting, take a few full breaths to relax that also make your baby relax.
- Take your baby in your arms, kiss her and then slowly go ahead.
Now learn how to massage your little one properly. If your baby gives a green signal to receive a gentle massage then start with your baby’s legs.
Take some oil in your palms, rub and go ahead.
- Hold your baby’s heel in your one hand. Gently stroke her leg in a “milking” motion from thigh to ankle with your other hand.
- Reverse the motion from ankle to thigh.
- Repeat the motion for a few times.
- Rub her feet with your thumbs.
- Then, uncurl and stroke her each toe gently.
- Make tiny circles with your thumb all over the top of the ankle and feet.
Arms and palms
After massaging the legs and feet, turn to your baby’s arms. The system of massage is similar to the legs.
- Hold your baby’s hand in your one hand. With your other hand, gently stroke her arm in a “milking” motion from the shoulder to the wrist.
- Reverse the motion by going from wrist to shoulder.
- Repeat the motion for a few times.
- Gently unfurl her fists and stroke her palms with your thumbs.
- Gently squeeze and pull each finger.
After massaging the arms and palms of your baby, now, turn to the chest.
- Place your both hands on your baby’s chest.
- Gently stroke her chest up toward the neck from the center and then down to her sides.
- Repeat the motion for a few times.
Now it’s time to massage your little one’s tummy.
- Draw small circles on her tummy, around the belly button, moving clockwise with your fingertips.
- Draw an “x” too on her tummy by making your fingertips walk from one side of your baby’s belly to the other.
Move to massage the head. It is also important to massage like other parts of your baby’s body.
- Gently and slowly make tiny circles on your baby’s entire head avoiding the soft spot on the top, with your fingertips.
Carefully massage your baby’s face because babies generally move a lot while massaging the face.
- Place your fingers on your baby’s forehead and gently stroke outward from the center.
- Make small circles on her cheeks gently.
- Draw a smile on her face pushing with your thumb lightly from one cheek to others across the upper lip.
- Reverse the same on the lower lip.
If your baby allows, try to turn her on her tummy with her hands at the front.
Or, you can hold your newborn upright position on your shoulder to massage her back.
- Place your open hands on her upper back and gently stroke from the upper back to the buttocks. Repeat the stroke for a few times. (For a newborn, you can also support her neck and head with your one hand on your shoulder, then gently stroke from her upper back to the buttocks with your other hand).
- Make small circles moving clockwise from her head to buttocks with your fingertips. Continue the massaging down from her legs to her feet.
- Don’t rub your fingers on the spine directly.
Neck and Shoulder
Finally, finish the message turning to your baby’s neck and shoulder.
- Massage your baby’s shoulder with gentle clockwise circular strokes.
- Give some light massage on her neck to.
Take a little one in your arms and kiss her.
What are the baby massage tips?
To make your massaging session more pleasant and active with your baby, here are some amazing baby massage tips.
- You should follow your baby’s mood before massaging her body. If she is in a positive mood, then, it’s okay, go ahead. But, if she turns away or cries or frowns, then you should save the session for later.
- Sing, speak and laugh with your baby while massaging. By this, she will be interested and cooperative in the activity.
- While massaging her legs, tummy, chest, head, and back, give a colorful soft toy in your baby’s hand when she can hold something. She will be busy with toy and you can easily massage her.
- Be gentle while massaging your baby. Avoid applying any excessive pressure because your baby’s bones and tissues are very delicate. Don’t massage the genital area.
- If you are giving a massage to your baby before sleep, then stroke away from the heart (for example, from shoulder to wrist) which gives relaxation and soothe to sleep.
- On the other hand, when your baby will be awake and active, then stroke toward the heart (for example, from wrist to shoulder) which stimulates your baby.
- Stop massaging your baby at any step when she doesn’t allow the massage and try it later because you cannot give your baby a full massage every time.
- After completing the massage session, wipe away the oil on your baby’s fingers and palms to avoid unwanted ingesting when she sucks on her hands and fingers.
- Give massage around the same time every day to make her feel comfortable while massaging.
When should I stop massaging my baby?
You can give a gentle massage to your baby as long as you want because there is no age limitation to stop massaging.
Actually, massage helps a lot in your baby’s growth and development. So, if you continue the massage, your baby will grow better.
Can massage be beneficial in certain medical conditions?
Besides the regular benefits of massage, there are some other benefits also. Especially in certain medical conditions, massage can help a baby to get relief or better feeling. Some medical conditions are given below where you can make your baby feel better through some specific massaging.
Cold, Cough and Congestion
When your baby is suffering from cold, cough and congestion, massage is very helpful to make your baby feel better.
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Here are the techniques of massage you can follow—
- Make your hand palms warm by rubbing some oil on your palm.
- Massage your baby’s chest from the center to the outside using small circles with your both hands. Then, gently massage your baby’s entire chest moving clockwise with your one hand. Then-
- Massage your baby’s upper back with the circular motion, then up and down by your oily warm hands.
- Now using your fingertip, gently massage your baby’s sinuses from the inner end of the eyebrow down to nose and then to the cheek. Do it for 2 or 3 times that helps to release mucus present in the sinuses.
- At last, massage your baby’s feet to generate heat that can help to loosen the mucus within the chest.
These massages make your baby feel warm that will relieve her from the uneasiness of congestion in the chest because of cold and cough.
Gas, Colic and Constipation and Gastroesophageal reflex
A special tummy massage named “ I-L-O” is very helpful to ease your baby’s tummy pain and discomfort when she is suffering from gas, colic, constipation or even gastroesophageal reflex. You need to follow the instructions are given below to massage your baby’s belly to make her feel better.
- At first, lay your baby on her back.
- Using your right hand’s fingertip, make a single downward stroke-like “I” on the left side of your baby’s navel. ( Baby’s left side and your right side)
- Now, stroke from your baby’s upper right side of belly to the upper left side and then downward to make a backward, sideways “L”.
- Finally, stroke from the lower right side of your baby’s belly, up, across and then down to the left side of the belly just like an upside-down “U”.
- Now, slowly massage your baby’s belly, around the belly button moving clockwise to make circles.
Above patterns of massage help your baby to poop well and to ease her pain and discomfort due to gas, constipation or colic.
When your baby has hiccups due to accumulated gas or in taking off excessive air during feeding, massage can be helpful to mitigate hiccups.
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To ease hiccups
- Hold your baby in an upright position on your chest or shoulder. Then, gently stroke in a circular motion from her lower back to the shoulders without applying excessive pressure.
This massage helps to de-stress the tensed diaphragm that is fluttered by gas or excessive air to produce hiccups. Thus, massage helps your baby to relieve from hiccups.
Massage is also helpful to relieve pain and make your baby feel better when she has been pushed vaccine. At the same time, it helps to improve the immunogenicity of some vaccines such as diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, that is proven clinically. So, to ease your baby’s pain—
- Gently massage the area of vaccination around the point of injection with light strokes.
- Strictly avoid the direct point of injection, while massaging.
If your baby is suffering from jaundice, regular body massage can be helpful to make your baby feel better. Massage does not cure jaundice in babies but it helps to ease yellowish color of skin improving the defecation rate and reducing the amount of bilirubin. It is clinically proven. So–
- Massage your baby with gentle strokes daily.
- Keep your baby in the morning sun at least for 10 to 15 minutes. Try to massage her in the sun because morning sun rays play an important role in the case of jaundice.
When your baby is teething, she feels irritation in her gums. Massage can help in this regard to ease gums irritation and make her feel better.
- Gently massage your baby’s bottom portion of gums with your clean fingertip.
- Avoid applying any excessive pressure on her gums and massaging the top of her gums where the first teeth will emerge.
- Be careful to massage the gums to avoid any unwanted hurt of baby’s gums.
Along with regular body massage of your baby, you can also apply the above-mentioned massage in certain medical conditions and make your baby feel better.
Great! Already you have learned that massage has wonderful benefits for your baby. So, massage her regularly in a proper way to enjoy the proper benefits. Thus, your baby will be stronger, healthier and happier. Enjoy your baby’s heavenly smile.
Best of luck.