One mistake many mothers do after delivery is to focus all their energy and attention on their newborns and not take care of one’s themselves. While your baby should definitely be the centre of your attention, you need to consider your body and mind too. And what better way to relax than a body massage followed by a warm bath?
Oil massages are known to increase blood circulation, relieve tension in muscles and melt away stress. Postnatal oil massages will soothe your aching body and ease the process of recovery. It is also known to increase the production of oxytocin that will result in better breast milk flow. Moreover, considering your body just went through a major transformation, oil massage is the right step forward towards regaining your old health and glow.
Ideally, you need to continue the massage routine for the first 40 days to get maximum benefits. However, many moms stop well before this due to time constraints. Why do new mothers love massages?.
Mustard oil (सरसों का तेल) is a warming oil and ‘heat’ is generally considered to speed up the healing process, making it an ideal choice during post-partum. It is known to increase blood circulation and decrease joint pain. It is also easily available in your local stores and not expensive. However, the cons are that it is a very thick oil (which makes it difficult to wash off from clothes) and has a strong smell (which you or the baby might not like).
Sesame oil (तिल का तेल) is a cooling oil, because of which some do not recommend it for postpartum massage. However, if the weather conditions are hot in your area, then coolness imparted by a sesame oil massage can be relaxing for you. In addition, the oil is also known to reduce BP and stress.
Coconut oil (नारियल तेल) is another cooling oil, very popular, especially in south India. It is more known for head massages, but it also can be used for body massages. It is a light oil, smells good, and is easily absorbed by your skin, making it very convenient to use. It is also a very good moisturizer as it has hydrating properties.
Almond oil (बादाम तेल) is another light, sweet-smelling oil that is easily absorbed by the skin and has moisturizing properties. Although it is slightly more expensive than the rest of the options here, it is known to reduce stretch marks, inflammation, muscle pains and improve complexion.
More known and followed in Kerala, Ayurvedic postnatal care is slowly becoming popular in the rest of India as well. Ayurveda details a holistic approach to postpartum care and recommends medicated herbal oil massages for the mother to strengthen ligaments, joints, muscles and overall body. Ayurvedic oil massages are also known to reduce pain and improve skin tone. There are different types of oil that will suit different body types, so you need to visit an Ayurvedic doctor to get the right prescription.
Apart from this, there are many other oils that are popular in different parts of India – like olive oil, sunflower oil, grape seed oil and wheat germ oil. As we mentioned before, pick an oil that best suits you and validate your choice with your doctor.
There are many postpartum care workers who specialize in traditional body massages. These nurses are also good with massaging babies. It would be ideal if you identify beforehand someone who can visit you once during the day and bathe both you and the baby. It is important to get help because (1) you cannot massage your whole body (2) there are massage techniques that relieve tension points and joint pains – an experienced hand is always better at it.
Keep the following in mind to ensure that you reap good benefits out of the massage:
As long as the lotion does not come in contact with the baby and you carefully avoid the nipples and your breasts, using a body lotion instead of the oil should be alright. Choose a lotion that does not contain parabens, retinoids, petroleum and formaldehyde. If you decide to go for a particular lotion, watch your baby’s reaction after using it. Any discomfort on the part of the baby is your cue to discontinue the lotion.
There are many oils that are great for massages. And for new mothers, massages are blessings. We give below five of our top picks. You need to choose an oil that suits you and the baby (since you will be handling the baby and the smell of the oil remains in your body even after bath).
Also, bear in mind to check for any allergic reactions you might have for certain oils. We recommend you do a patch test if you have never used the oil before. Another factor to consider is the weather conditions in your place of residence. Some oils are warming in nature and some having cooling properties.
If you have had a normal delivery, then you can start oil massage as soon as you are back home. Most moms start it within the first 5 days.
If you have had a C-section, then you need to give the wound some time to heal before you start the massage – generally after 1-2 weeks. Please confirm with your doctor before starting the massage.