Baby Massage: What, why and how?

Regularly massaging your baby is a great way strengthen your bond, to communicate your love to your baby, to give them more sensory stimulation and to help with their healthy development. Many studies have revealed that routine touch is essential to a baby’s growth, communication and learning. Touch is our first language with our babies.

Gentle and loving touch can help babies grow stronger and feel less anxiety. This is why most hospitals insist that newborns are placed on the mother’s chest or abdomen to give them as much skin-to-skin contact as possible. The touch between a mother and her baby brings them emotionally close – a process known as bonding or attachment.

 

What is baby massage?

Baby massage is the gentle, rhythmic stroking of your baby’s body using your hands.

What are the benefits of baby massage?

  • Help you and your baby understand each other better
  • Soothe babies and reduce crying
  • Aid digestion and help relieve colic, wind and constipation
  • Help babies to sleep more deeply and for longer
  • Relieve nasal congestion and teething discomfort
  • Help develop good muscle tone, co-ordination and suppleness
  • Enhance body awareness
  • Boost the immune system
  • Improve skin texture
  • Help calm and relax both parent and baby
  • Boost parents’ confidence in handling their baby

 

Top tips & techniques for baby massage:  

  • Choose a time when your baby is awake and alert, not too hungry or too full
  • A nice time of day to get started is after a bath and before bed to help relax and wind-down in preparation for sleep.
  • Use a safe and comfortable place to do the massage and position your baby so that they can see your face clearly. Try sitting on the floor, bed or sofa, with your baby on a towel or blanket in front of you.
  • Ensure the room is warm and the lighting not too bright or directly in your baby’s eyes.
  • Wash your hands and remove jewelry. Use a small, pea-sized amount of baby oil and rub it into your own hands to ensure your hands aren’t dry or cold.
  • Before starting, take a few deep breaths. This will help you to relax, which in turn will help your baby relax too.

 

Going to a baby massage group is an ideal way to learn to massage your baby safely. As well as meeting mums with babies of a similar age, it can be really helpful to learn specific techniques from someone with a qualification in infant massage.