How to massage your baby- Right Oils and Techniques

Massage your baby

Welcoming a new addition to the family is an exciting and joyous occasion. As parents, we strive to provide our babies with the utmost care and comfort, nurturing them in every possible way. One beautiful way to bond with your little one and promote their well-being is through the gentle art of baby massage. For centuries, baby massage has been an important part of baby care routine. In this guide, our development expert, Dr. Clara Guru, will inform you about the best massage techniques and oils to ensure a soothing and delightful experience for both you and your baby.

Why massage your baby?

Massage holds numerous benefits for babies. These are:

  • Relaxation

Massage makes your baby feel more calm and relaxed, promoting better sleep patterns. It lowers their levels of stress hormones and releases “feel-good” hormones. 

  • Healthy growth and development

Baby massage helps babies with their growth and development by improving circulation, enhancing muscle tone, promoting healthy weight gain, decreasing jaundice, and providing pain relief. It relaxes their muscles, encouraging flexibility in their arms and legs. Massaging your baby regularly leads to healthy weight gain, decreased jaundice, and pain relief. It also helps with conditions like gas, constipation, colic, or cramps. It also leads to improved body awareness, leading to better coordination and balance.

  • Bonding

The skin-to-skin contact during massage fosters a deep sense of connection between parent and child, strengthening the bond between them. It promotes feelings of love and trust and even results in increased positive attachment.

Choosing the Right Oil

Selecting the right oil is crucial for baby massage, as their delicate skin requires gentle and nourishing ingredients. Opt for natural, hypoallergenic oils that are free from harsh chemicals and fragrances. Here are some excellent choices:

  • Virgin Coconut Oil

Known for its moisturizing properties, coconut oil is a popular option for baby massage. It’s easily absorbed into the skin, leaving it soft and hydrated.

  • Almond Oil

Rich in vitamin E and other minerals, almond oil is gentle on sensitive skin and helps soothe irritation or dryness. It improves the baby’s skin thickness and strength.

  • Jojoba Oil

With its resemblance to the skin’s natural oils, jojoba oil is easily absorbed and helps maintain the skin’s moisture balance during baby massage. It’s suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. It is high in vitamin E and is recommended for babies with eczema as it helps the skin heal.  

  • Sunflower Oil

Another gentle option, sunflower oil is high in linoleic acid, which helps maintain the skin’s barrier function and prevents moisture loss. Use a highly refined sunflower oil as it is safe and non-toxic. Avoid this if the baby has eczema.

  • Grapeseed Oil

Lightweight and non-greasy, cold-pressed grapeseed oil is ideal for massage as it absorbs quickly without clogging pores. It’s also gentle on delicate skin.

Before using any oil, it’s essential to perform a patch test on a small area of your baby’s skin to ensure they don’t have any allergic reactions during baby massage.

Reference from The Benefits of Baby MassageYour Guide to Baby Massage, and Baby Massage: Tips and Benefits

Best Massage Techniques

Now, let’s understand some gentle and effective massage techniques to help calm and comfort your baby:

  • Legs and Feet Massage

This baby massage helps relieve tension, promoting relaxation and muscular strength. Gently stroke your baby’s legs and feet using long, smooth motions from the thigh down to the foot. Use your thumbs to trace small circles on the soles of their feet and around their ankle. Use your whole hand to stroke the bottom of the foot from heel to toe. Stroke the top of the foot. Gently squeeze and pull each toe.

  • Tummy Massage

It helps relieve gas and constipation and promotes digestion. Gently massage your baby’s tummy with your fingertips using clockwise circular motions. Use light pressure and follow your baby’s cues to ensure they’re comfortable. Trace your fingers around the baby’s navel clockwise. Hold your baby’s legs and feet together, then gently press the knees up towards the abdomen. Rotate your baby’s hips a few times to the right. (This helps remove gas.) Place your hand horizontally on your tummy and rock it from side to side several times.

  • Back Massage

This baby massage helps them feel more comfortable lying on their tummy. Lay your baby on their tummy and gently stroke their back using long, flowing motions back and forth from the shoulders down to the buttocks (moving each hand in the opposite direction). Use a gentle, rhythmic touch to help them relax. Using your fingertips, massage in small circles down one side of the baby’s spine and up the other. Avoid pressing on the spine directly. Massage their shoulders with small circular motions. Massage their buttocks with big circular motions. If your baby feels uncomfortable in this position, try to not spend a lot of time on back massage.

  • Arm and Hand Massage

It helps improve muscle tone and coordination, as well as increase body awareness. Relax the upper arm by lightly tapping it, while holding your baby’s wrist. Similar to the legs and feet, use long, gentle strokes to massage your baby’s arms and hands. Stroke down gently from their shoulders to their wrists. Pay special attention to the palms and fingers, gently squeezing and rolling them between your fingers. Stroke down the top of the hand from wrist to fingertips. Gently squeeze and pull each finger. Massage the wrist by moving your fingers in small circles. Gently roll their arm between both your hands.

  • Chest massage

Helps when the baby is having a cold, cough, or any respiratory infection. It also helps improve breathing patterns and lung health. Place both hands on your baby’s chest and gently stroke outward, from the sternum (breastbone) to the shoulders. Begin at the sternum and trace a heart shape with both hands, moving up to the shoulders, then down and back together. Be extra gentle while massaging their chest area.

  • Head and Face Massage

This type of baby massage helps relieve tension and improves blood circulation. With clean hands, use your fingertips to gently stroke your baby’s forehead, cheeks, and chin. Be extra gentle around the eyes and nose, using light pressure to promote relaxation. Support your baby’s head in both hands and massage the scalp with your fingertips as if shampooing. (Avoid the fontanel, which is a soft place on top of the baby’s head.) Massage the ears with your thumb and index finger. Trace a heart shape on your baby’s face and bring your hands together at the chin. Place your thumbs between your baby’s brows and rub outward. Again, using your thumbs, gently stroke out over your baby’s closed eyelids. Stroke from the bridge of the nose to the cheekbones. Use your fingertips to massage the jaw in tiny circles.

Reference from Newborn Baby Massage Guide and Your Guide to Baby Massage

Some important tips

  • Massage your baby at least once a day.
  • Maintain eye contact and speak soothingly to your baby throughout the massage session. 
  • Follow their cues and adjust your pressure and speed accordingly. Strokes should be gentle but firm. Notice their signals and mood to know when to stop. A massage can last from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. Some signs to know that your baby is not feeling the massage are Crying, squirming, or falling asleep.
  • Keep the environment calm and free from distractions to enhance the relaxing experience during baby massage. 
  • Avoid massaging your baby immediately after feeding. Wait at least 45 minutes, or until your baby is calm and alert. 
  • Before using any oil, always do a patch test on a small area of your baby’s skin to ensure they don’t have any allergic reactions.
Reference from Newborn Baby Massage Guide and Your Guide to Baby Massage

Final thoughts by Dr. Clara Guru

Baby massage is a beautiful way to bond with your little one while promoting their physical and emotional well-being. Dr. Clara Guru says that by choosing the right oils and employing gentle massage techniques, you can create a nurturing and comforting experience for both you and your baby. Enjoy this special time together, cherishing the precious moments of love and connection that massage brings into your lives.

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  1. Why is baby massage important?
  2. Which massage oil is safe for my baby?
  3. What massage techniques can I follow?
  4. What things should I keep in mind before massaging my baby?

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