Baby Massage: How And Why You Need To Do It?

September 26th, 2023 | 10:15 am

A relaxing technique that can soothe your baby and strengthen your relationship with them is infant massage. The baby will feel cherished and cared for with each gentle stroke, building the bond between mother and child. This practice will also make babies feel more comfortable, potentially aiding in better sleep. Massages offer a range of health benefits for newborns, including relief from gas, cramps, and constipation.

Benefits of Baby Massage

During a baby’s first years and for years to come, infant massage will provide numerous advantages. Here are some additional benefits of this unique method: 

  • Infant massage helps parents and their child spend quality time together, encouraging feelings of attachment and love. This early interaction with parents can support children’s growth in empathy and self-assurance. 
  • Infant massage promotes all body systems, including the digestive, immunological, and circulatory systems, as well as the muscles and joints. Babies’ body awareness may develop, leading to better coordination and balance. 
  • Infant massage has been linked to improved sleep patterns for newborns and their parents, as well as a reduction in stress hormones and an increase in “feel-good” chemicals. 
  • Massage can help with gastrointestinal difficulties, including colic and constipation, as well as teething discomfort and growing pains.

In short, making time for infant massage is worthwhile, as it may have a significant positive impact on the parenting routine. Here are several infant massage methods that every parent should be familiar with.

How to Begin Massaging Your Baby

  • Start by gathering the items you’ll need: a blanket or towel and massage oil in a safe and sturdy bottle. 
  • Before using any massage oil, consult a doctor, and opt for one without overpowering scents or chemicals. 
  • Ensure there are no signs of irritation by testing a small patch of the infant’s skin with the oil. 
  • Avoid massaging the baby just after a meal or when they are tired. 
  • Choose a time when the baby is neither too hungry nor too full. 
  • It’s preferable if the infant is awake yet calm. 
  • Select a comfortable seat with the baby reclining in front of the mother or the person performing the massage. 
  • The baby can be entirely naked or wearing just a nappy.

Step by step Guide to Massaging Your Baby

Step 1

Begin by gently rubbing the infant’s tummy. Use one or both hands to make circular motions in a clockwise direction. Turn your fingers around the navel in a clockwise manner. Gently push the baby’s knees up towards the tummy while holding the baby’s feet and knees together.

Step 2

Before bedtime, a gentle head and face massage can help the baby unwind, increase blood flow, and promote restful sleep. Massage the baby’s scalp while holding his or her head in both hands. Use your thumb and index finger to massage the ears. Massage the infant’s face using only your fingertips. Stroke downward and inward towards the cheeks, starting from the centre of the forehead and moving outward around the eyes.

Step 3

A chest massage with healing oil may help alleviate symptoms of a cough, cold, or respiratory illness in a newborn. Lightly touch the baby’s chest with your hands. Begin a stroke in the direction of their shoulders, then softly move it down each arm to the wrists. Gently extend the baby’s arms a little bit. Before the infant puts their hands in their mouth, wipe off any oil or lotion from their hands.

Step 4

Just like the rest of the body, massaging a baby’s arms can help promote body consciousness, muscular tone, and coordination. Begin by holding the infant’s wrist with one hand. Lightly touch the upper arm to ease tension. Massage the palm from the heel of the hand to the fingers, alternating with your thumbs. Stroke the top of the hand from the wrist to the fingers. Gently squeeze and pull each finger. Use your fingertips to make small circles and massage the wrist. Roll their arm between both of your palms.

Step 5

If the infant is comfortable and content lying on their tummy, they may feel more at ease if the mother regularly rubs their back. If the baby is at ease on their front, gently turn them over to rub their back. Keep their hands in front of them, not at their sides. Apply long, slow strokes from top to bottom along their spine. Use gentle circular motions with your fingertips to massage down one side of the baby’s spine and up the other side. Avoid immediately applying pressure on the spine. Apply gentle circular strokes to their shoulders. If this position causes fussiness, avoid it and try massaging a different region that is more comfortable for them.

Step 6

Even though the infant may not yet be able to walk, a little leg massage can nevertheless assist in relieving stress and encouraging calm. By holding the baby’s ankle, raise one leg, then touch the baby’s upper thigh to loosen it up. Hold the baby’s upper thigh with one hand while forming the other into a C-shape with the thumb pointing downward. Stroke from the heel to the toe, then focus on one toe at a time, spreading them out and giving each a gentle tug. Use small circles to massage the ankle.

General Baby Massage Tips

Here are some pointers to keep in mind when beginning to massage a baby:

  • Schedule daily massages for the infant.
  • Avoid using ticklish strokes; use firm but gentle pressure.
  • Observe the baby’s cues about when to stop. The typical length of a baby massage is 10 to 30 minutes. If they appear uncomfortable or upset, stop the massage and simply pick up the infant for a hug.
  • Before using any massage oils, consult a doctor, and avoid those that contain strong chemicals.
  • Avoid applying massage oil near the lips, eyes, or nose.
  • Stay calm and avoid unnecessary worry about the technique. Sing or hum softly to the infant as you converse and smile.

Giggles Hospitals is a well-known medical facility recognised for its comprehensive woman and child care services. The hospital’s unparalleled expertise and distinctive facilities have made it a one-stop shop for the best maternity and paediatric care. Our paediatricians diagnose and treat acute diseases in children of all ages while also providing evidence-based preventative and well-child care.