Moms always try to give their babies the best care, and massaging is part of most mothers' daily care routine. Baby massaging has been practised in India for ages through generations, and if you are a new mom who wants to know how to massage newborn baby, here is a comprehensive guide for you.
Massaging involves rhythmic, gentle strokes with hands using a nourishing oil. Baby massages are healing for your tiny tots since they let you bond with the baby and simultaneously calm him. Infants tend to understand the parent’s soothing touch, and massaging further elevates the experience since it also has several health benefits that keep your child happy throughout the day.
As a new mom, you would do everything for the best baby care routine and body massage of your baby is one crucial aspect of it. However, you should know some important points before you indulge in this task, which we will discuss in this blog.
Baby Massage Benefits Parents Should Know
Massaging is therapeutic as it alleviates your little one from problems like constipation, colic and cramping. These are common issues that every baby faces in the early days as their bodies take time to adjust to the new outer world conditions, milk, etc. The gentle strokes you use de-stress the muscles and induce sleep- a vital aspect of newborn growth. You will observe that the baby tends to sleep immediately after the massage, which is a good indicator.
Except for health baby massage benefits, the technique nurtures the skin. The oil you use is absorbed by the skin, making it healthy, soft, and shiny. Show him all your love and care- an opportunity to spend quality time with the tot. Baby massage allows dotting moms to attain enhanced baby immunity, blood circulation, digestion, etc.
During the massage, you can also move the hands, fingers, and legs to let your baby understand the movements, which further gives him confidence for motor skills development in the initial phase. The release of good hormones makes your baby happy and active - a goal every new mother wants to attain.
When is the Right Time to Start Baby Massage?
Health professionals and paediatricians suggest that new moms can start massaging whenever they feel confident enough to handle the baby properly. Parenting is an amazing phase, but new moms become nervous about handling the little angel. Hence, the right time completely depends on you as a mother. Thus, you should take your time and start when you feel.
Usually, most mothers are comfortable massaging their babies after a few weeks of childbirth, but you must understand the little one’s cues when you start the massage process. The baby should be calm during this time for the best benefits. If he starts crying or stiffens his body, you should stop immediately rather than forcing and making the baby uncomfortable.
The frequency of baby massage also varies from one baby to another. While some moms prefer massaging their babies twice a day- during the day and before bedtime, others follow an alternate day routine. It is about the time you invest in the process and your baby’s mood. Do not be stringent about the routine, and never feel guilty if you miss a massage session because your baby is not in the mood.
Prepping up for the Massage Session
You need to have some supplies like a towel, blanket, wipes, and massage oil for baby before starting the process. Always remember to choose an oil that is natural and formulated, especially for babies.
Avoid using products with a strong odour or chemicals since they may harm the delicate skin. You should always ensure that the oil has no side effects, irritation, or rashes. If you find anything wrong, change the massage oil for the baby right away
It is recommended that you sit on the floor during the massage and make the child lay between your legs so that the baby is safe. Remember to put a cushion beneath the baby so that he is comfortable. Do not use an air-conditioner during the massage as your baby will not have any clothes on his body and may catch a cold.
How to Massage Different Body Parts
We understand you are not a massage expert; therefore, here is the right technique you can use as a new mom to ensure maximum baby massage benefits for the little angel. Here is how you should massage the different body parts the right way:
- The head and face: The infant’s head is still soft, and you should be cautious when massaging it. Massaging the head gently helps improve blood circulation to the brain and promotes hair growth. Use your soft fingertips with a small amount of oil and massage gently. Avoid putting pressure on the fontanel, a soft spot on the baby’s head - massage between the ears, moving towards the chin. Use your thumbs around the eyebrows and eyelids very softly. Eventually, massage in a circular motion around the cheeks before you move to the chest and tummy.
- Massaging the chest:A chest massage helps your baby if he suffers from cold or chest congestion. Apply oil on the chest and use your palms to stroke outwards from the centre to the shoulders.
- The tummy area:Massaging the chest and stomach relieves the baby from gastrointestinal issues. Use strokes from chest to belly, upward to downwards, with both hands. Around the navel area, use fingertips and massage clockwise to keep colic issues at bay.
- Massaging the arms and hands: Massaging those tiny hands will help strengthen the muscles. Massage the hand from shoulders to fingertips with your palm, then move the elbow joints softly.
- The legs massage:When you massage your child’s legs, you release the tension and strengthen the knee joints. Take one leg at a time and tap the upper thigh lightly, moving down to the foot with gentle strokes. Use thumbs to apply slight pressure on the sole and massage each toe. Once you are done with both legs, fold them and press towards the stomach a few times, which expels gas and relaxes the baby.
- Massaging the back:Make the baby lie on the tummy and use both hands to gently massage from neck to lower back until the oil is absorbed. Do not apply too much pressure on the spine, as it would hurt and irritate the child. Use soft, clockwise circular motions around the shoulder and hip areas.
Critical Tips on How to Massage Newborn Baby
Now that you are all set to initiate massaging, let us share some tips for a stress-free affair for you and your baby. So, let us start:
- Choose a cosy room that has enough light and is noiseless. Avoid sitting in a room with family around as the baby will get distracted and may get annoyed with loud sounds during the massage.
- Talk to your little one and make eye contact during the process so that he feels attached to you. You will soon hear cooing responses, resulting in a confident and interactive child.
- You will be massaging your child in different seasons, so ensure you always maintain a normal room temperature.
- Do not hurry with the massage. Start slowly by touching softly and checking your baby’s response. If the tiny tot is comfortable, start with gentle strokes. It is best to start from the head and move down later on.
- Do not rub the body parts for long, as this may cause rashes.
- Give some tummy time to your child as you massage the back; it helps strengthen the shoulder, neck and arm muscles, helping in the later stage of the baby's growth.
- Choose a massage for your baby carefully, as you will find several massage oil options to buy. You may opt for virgin coconut or olive oil, used for ages. However, be vigilant to check for any skin reactions and take immediate action if you find any signs of allergy or rashes.
- Avoid massaging right after feeding your baby, as it may lead to vomiting. Ensure a minimum gap of 45 minutes between feeding and massaging.
- Your baby may fall asleep after the massage- a great way of letting him relax. Swaddle your baby and let him take a nap while you finish your chores.
- It is recommended to massage a few hours before bathing routine as it helps wash off the extra oil on the body. Give a lukewarm water bath and let the baby relax.
Selecting the Best Massage Oil for Your Delicate Baby
Your baby’s skin is delicate, so you should never compromise with the products you use. You need to understand that each baby has a different skin type, and it is sensitive, so you must choose an oil that suits and nourishes the skin well.
Even though there are options for using natural oils, it is best to choose a massage oil that has been specially formulated for your baby’s skin. Several reputed brands offer oils with goodness of natural ingredients, which makes them the best buy.
Massaging soothes the baby and builds a strong bond. For the health benefits your baby will enjoy in the long run, you should try baby massage without any doubt.
Have a wonderful parenting journey, and let your tiny tot grow into a strong and confident child by laying the foundation from the initial days - something both of you will cherish for a lifetime.