Soon after the baby is born, parents start searching for a massage lady who can give their baby a good body massage and bath. In India, in joint families, the elderly women in the family (like an experienced grandmother) usually do this job. As soon as the mother recovers from the delivery, she can also start massaging and bathing her baby. An oil massage can be both relaxing and therapeutic to the baby and is important for proper growth and development of the baby. A gentle daily oil massage can do wonders to your baby. So here’s a look at how to massage your baby properly.
Benefits Of Infant Massage
Massaging a new-born is extremely beneficial for the emotional and physical development of the baby. The babies who are massaged regularly tend to gain more weight and were found more energetic. Following are some benefits of massaging the newborns:
- The sleep quality of the new-born can be improved through massage as the massaging calms and relaxes the baby
- The hormones that released during the massage helps to dismiss any discomfort in the stomach, chest and teething process
- Massaging helps get relief from gas issues which are quite common among newborns
- Helps to strengthen the immune system
- Boost the muscle development, its flexibility, and coordination
- Caressing and touching the baby helps to strengthen the mother-baby bond. If the messaging is performed by the father, it’s the easiest and the quickest way to establish a father – baby bond
- Massaging the infants increases the blood flow and, therefore the oxygen and nutrients reach the cells faster
When To Massage A Baby?
Before getting into the massaging procedure, there are three important factors to take care of.
- Select appropriate time: You should select a time when the baby is not hungry for massaging. Also, never start massaging right after the feeding when the baby is full. It’s better to start massaging after an hour of feeding. Then, after oil massage and bath, you can feed the baby again and put him to sleep. The time you choose should also be convenient for you. Make sure you will not be interrupted in the middle of the procedure. Both the person who massage and the baby should be relaxed during the whole procedure for best results
- Select appropriate massage oil: There is a wide range of baby oils available in the market for massaging the baby. Choose one which suits your baby’s skin. You can ask the opinion of your baby’s doctor. Anyhow, make sure the oil causes no allergy to the extra sensitive skin of the baby. Body massage oil should not be applied to the head and face of the baby
- Find a comfortable position: This is the most important part. The position you choose should be comfortable for you and your baby. After sitting in a comfortable position, hold the baby in your lap. Put a thick towel in your lap so that the oil will not spoil your cloth. Otherwise, you can put the baby in baby mat designed for oil, massaging (mats of different colors are available in the market) and sits nearby and start massaging
How To Massage A New Born Baby?
The first rule of massaging the new born baby is to massage slowly and gently applying very light pressure
- Start massaging baby’s back first. Stroke the back side to side and up and down alternatively for 2 minutes
- After back massage, turn the baby and start the front massage
- Stroke from shoulder to wrist for some time and then start to stroke from wrist to shoulder
- Hold the heel of the baby in one hand. Now slowly start stroking from the top of the thigh to the ankle applying gentle pressure. More or less the movement should be similar to milking a cow. Now rub the baby’s feet with your thumb. Gently squeeze the toes. Same you can do with palm and fingers too
- Hold the hands on both sides of baby’s head. Now, slowly and gently bring the hand towards the toes. Raise the baby’s head gently with one hand, now with the palm of the other hand, without applying pressure, do circular motions
- Fold your hand in a praying position and place the hand on the forehead of the baby. Now softly push the hand outward from the middle. With your thumb gently rub from the right cheek through the upper lip to the left cheek and without stopping bring the thumb back to the right cheek through the lower lip. Repeat it few times
- Fold your hand in a praying position and place the hand on the chest of the baby. Push the hand gently out to the sides of the chest
When Is The Right Time To Start Oil Massage For Your Baby?
It is suggested to wait for ten to fifteen days after the birth to start the oil massage. This is because the skin barrier will not be fully developed when the baby is born. Therefore, the oil massage can make the baby’s skin dry or can develop an allergic reaction. Moreover, it is better to wait till the umbilical stump falls (which will take around two weeks) as the oil, if not properly removed from the stump can increase the risk of infection.
Is Your Baby Comfortable During The Massage?
Infants usually enjoy massaging. The person who massaging the baby will come to understand if the baby is not comfortable. The baby will start to cry or show signs of discomfort. Once you change his position or the pressure applied is reduced, he may again start to enjoy the massage. Also, whenever you pick the cue that the baby had enough massage (he will start to turn away and cry), never continue the massage. Stop the massage and give him a quick bath.
What Is The Best Oil For Massaging Your Baby?
There is a wide range of baby massage oil from which you can choose appropriate oil. Rub a little oil in the hand of the baby and wait for some time to see if the baby shows signs of itching or develops a rash. If not, you can apply it to the whole body. The oil used for the massage should be:
- Unscented or unperfumed
- Pure and refined
- Thin structured
- Easily absorb into the skin
- During summer, coconut oil and sesame oil are good for massaging the baby
- During winter, olive oil, mustard oil, and almond oil can be used
We hope this article will be your go to guide when it comes to massaging your baby. If you have anything more to share, please leave it in the comments section below.