Massaging your baby is a lovely way of spending time together which both parents and baby can enjoy. Many babies love the feeling of being completely bare for a change during a massage, without the restrictions of a nappy and clothes, and massage can also help your baby wind down before bedtime. Many parents just follow their instincts when it comes to giving their baby a massage, but there are some simple tips you may want to follow.
Massaging your baby
- The room should be warm, around 25° C (77° F), and your baby laid on a warm soft towel or mat. Make sure your hands are nice and warm by rubbing them together well with a little oil before you begin.
- You can use one of the natural organic baby oils or baby lotion. Avoid nut-based oils, such as almond oil.
- Using a small amount of oil or lotion, and with gentle strokes, start at the back of your baby's shoulders and massage him all over.
- Turn him on his front and again, starting at the top of his shoulders, gently massage his front and arms. Avoid the tummy area in babies under one month old. Many babies get upset when their tummies are exposed to the air; draping a muslin over their tummy will help them feel more secure.
- He may start to get a little fretful by this time, as he will be getting hungry, so try to work quickly when dressing him. Once he is dressed and ready for his feed wrap a big muslin around his neck to ensure that his clean nightclothes do not need to be changed should he posset just prior to being put down.
- Massaging your baby should be a relaxing and enjoyable experience for both of you. However, if your baby seems distressed, stop the massage and try again another day.
Joining a class
You may want to consider joining a baby massage class if you have one locally as this will not only help you feel more confident about massaging your baby, but will also be a social experience for you both. Some baby massage classes take babies from about six weeks of age, but others wait until they are a little older at around eight to 12 weeks. Provided your baby will remain happily awake for the class length, you will both enjoy the benefits which massage can bring.
Tips taken from The Contented Baby's First Year, by Gina Ford