How to give a baby massage and why?

A Baby Massage

A Baby Massage – Everyone has been telling you about how important it is to massage a newborn baby since pregnancy. Now that the baby is here, and you start doubting how safe it is to massage this tiny body.

Sure, it is fun to hug and kiss that little baby of yours. Let us make it more fun by adding a daily massage in everyday routine. Baby massage can be performed for many months. There is no limit to ending this fun-filled activity.

There are certain things to look out for before carrying a baby massage activity. In addition, there are some guidelines to make the most out of a baby massage. It is a good idea to carry out the same steps of a baby massage every time.

By the end of reading, you will be confident to massage your precious little bundle of joy.

Topics:

Introduction:

A baby massage is done by stroking different parts of the body with gentle and firm hands. It stimulates all the nerves giving many benefits to the baby. 

It also relaxes the baby. Your baby will start to enjoy this bonding activity a lot. He or she might even give baby coo-coos and smiles and give your pleasant feeling.

Parents should take out a specific time of the day to carry put this positive activity with their baby. In conclusion, baby massage is favorable in various ways.

A Baby Massage

What are the Benefits of a Baby Massage to a baby?

The tradition of baby massage has been carried around in many parts of the world including Africa and India.

However, baby massage came into being around 30 years ago in the Western to support the premature babies. A research was conducted in 2004 and the result was satisfying.

It showed that massaged babies spent less time in hospital, had better results in developmental tests, and developed fewer complications.

General Benefits of Massage:

  • Helps bond with the parents
  • It improves in development of the baby
  • A massage stimulates the digestive system (relives gas and constipation)
  • It can improve the immune system
  • It relaxes the baby and gives a good sleep
  • Babies who are given a massage are alert and less grumpy.
  • Babies are more approachable to hugs and cuddles in the upcoming later years

Know more about other ways to bond with your baby in our articles Is Hugging your baby very good? and How can fathers’ bond with the baby?

Common Baby Issues for which massage is beneficial

I have listed below some of the common medical situations where massage can be a relief for your baby.

When your baby is gassy or has colic: Massage your baby gently by drawing the shapes of L or U around the baby navel.

When baby has cough or cold: Rub oil on the palm of your hand and gently rub in circular motion around baby’s chest. Do the same for babies’ feet and back. 

When Baby has teething issue: Dip your finger in mild cold water and gently massage your baby’s gums to relieve pain.

Baby Hiccups: By gently rubbing the babies back from bottom to shoulders in circular motion tend to ease the discomfort.

Aches and Pains: Gently massage your baby’s hands and legs in one long pulling motion from hip to toe and shoulder to fingers. This helps in reliving pains or aches your baby might have.

When they take a small bump: Gently massage your baby in case of a small bump or even after an injection shot. This helps the blood to circulate faster around the area and reducing the swelling. If you have doubts after a bump or a fall. Or baby behaviour has changed reach out to your doctor for advice.

Know about newborn quirks from our article 5 Very Common Newborn Baby Problems / Quirks

What are the Benefits of Baby Massage for Parents?

mother hugging her baby

The baby is not the only one getting the benefits of a massage massage. Research shows that the massager also avails many benefits at the same time. This activity is positive for both sided of the coin.

  • Develops a strong bond
  • It will make you relaxed and build confidence in the ability to nurture your baby.
  • It stimulates hormones of the mother to produce breast milk.
  • For non-breastfeeding mums, it is a good activity for skin to skin.
  • This is a good way to communicate with the baby
  • It lessens the postnatal depression symptoms.

Our article 12 Everyday activities that WILL impact baby’s development. Will help you to know how to these everyday activities make a huge benefit for your baby.

Things to do before massaging a baby: (4R’s)

There are certain things you need to do before carrying out this wonderful activity with your baby. Know the 4 R’s.

Right room temperature: It is recommended to make a pleasant atmosphere first. Make sure the temperature of the room is just right for the baby to be comfortable. Turn on the heater, AC, or fan to achieve the right temperature.

Remove Jewelry: Next, make sure to take out off all jewelry like rings and bracelets from your hands and fingers to avoid any kind of injury of the skin of the baby. It is equally important, to keep your fingernails as short as possible You do not want scratches on the soft baby skin of your baby.

Right Time: It is important to pick out the right time suitable for your baby. The baby should neither be sleepy or hungry. It is important to keep in mind that it is best to give a massage before bedtime or after a bath according to the experts.

Right Spot: Equally important, it is recommended to pick out the right spot to give a massage. It could be a sofa, or a bed or even on the floor. It is essential for both the baby and the parent to be comfortable as much as possible.

The key to a good baby massage is to be comfortable and develop a comfortable bond with the new addition in the family.

All these are things need to be done before carrying out a baby massage to have a fun-filled activity.

How to Give Massage to a Baby:

A Baby Massage. Massage your baby to keep him calm

It is recommended to massage your baby following the same steps every time.

This way, the baby will know what to expect next. As a result, this will develop comfort and your baby will not wrench.

It is also a good idea to sing to your baby and make eye contact while massaging the baby.

Experts say that you need to massage with baby oil or baby lotion to avoid any skin reaction.

Steps to follow

Step 1: Start off by massaging the feet. With gentle hands and yet firm touch, move your hand from the ankle to the toes. Then gently pull each toe separately. Repeat this with the other foot.

Step 2: Move to the legs and massage them back and forth with gentle strokes. Then focus on the thighs first, then the knees, and lastly, the lower leg.

Step 3: Next, gently massage the tummy with circular motions. Then move your hands stroking the chest till the tummy in an up and down motion.

Step 4: Massage the face. Start off with the forehead then the cheeks. Then move the strokes to the chin. Finally, stroke the nose back and forth.

Step 5: Now, turn the baby on the side and massage the arms. First, gently stroke the upper arm, then the elbows, then the lower arm. Do the same to the other arm by turning the baby on the other side.

Step 6: Now massage all over the front of the body with several strokes. From the chest till the toes.

Step 7: Turn the baby on the tummy and massage the back with gentle firm stokes with both hands. Move your hands from the upper back to the ankles.

Massaging with the right techniques will sure make both the baby and the parent have a good sleep.

There is nothing better than investing 10 minutes to have a result of a good sleep, especially the new parents who are not used to sleepless nights.

Pro Tip: Wrap baby in towel when you plan to pick up your baby. Since both, your hands and baby will be slippery. We do not want a fall.

To know more on safety, you can read our article 17 ways to effectively baby proof your House

Right time to start giving a Massage

Now that you know most of what you must know about massage. I am sure you are eager to start with baby massage.

So, let us address the question of wen to start giving your baby a massage.

While there is no concreate guideline as to when to start giving a massage to your baby. However, as a thumb rule we have always started massage after your baby has turned one month old.

The reason is because the skin of the baby needs to settle down and become water resistant which happens around 2 weeks of time.

At the same time, the umbilical cord also takes 1 to 3 weeks to dry and fall off.

So, in short, the best time to start is after 1 month when your baby will be more receptive to receive massage.

You can continue this practice till the pre school age. I have personally given massage for my kids till they were 10 yrs. But mainly to their head, hands, legs, and shoulders.

Note and Tips to parents

A Baby Massage

While you will be all excited to start off with massage. Here are some common tips that you can keep in mind when you go about with the massage for your baby.

  1. Take cues from your baby. Ensure that your baby is having a good time.
  2. Do not massage when you baby is just fed or tired.
  3. If they show resistance or become cranky when you massage a part. Stop immediately and check for bruises or wounds.
  4. Use the right lotion recommended by your doctor for massage. In our culture we use warm coconut oil for massage.
  5. Always be gentle in your massage. Do not try deep tissue massage.
  6. There is no need to massage diaper area. And ensure that the massage oil does not get lodged in the skin folds.
  7. Engage with your baby when you massage them. Speak with them. Laugh, sing, and talk with them.
  8. You will reap maximum benefit if you have a set routine (time and way of massage) so you baby can look forward to and is more welcoming for a massage.
  9. Do not have to give massage when you baby is sick or cranky.
  10. Encourage your spouse to give baby a message once a week at least to increase bonding.

Conclusion:

Baby massage has been proven to be beneficial for many years now. It was first originated in Asian countries, but now it is a common activity all around the world.

Research has shown many positive outcomes from a baby massage for both the parent and the baby.

With a little precautionary measure, you can make it a pleasurable, bonding activity both for your baby and yourself.

These little things add up to a lot to the strength of your relationship with your little one as they grow bigger…

God Bless!!

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Let us know your experience in giving a baby massage. Leave your answers in the comments below…

Thabitha David

Thabitha David

Mother, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Friend. She is a MBA Graduate specialized in Human Resources. She is a very proud mother of 3 Kids. (2 Teens & 1 Tween). She is a keen Observer of Life and is a blogger. She writes these articles based on her experience (Success and Failures). She does this with hope to help and ease the pain of at-least one parent as they face the challenges of parenting. Read more from the About Us Page

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