This guest post is filled with practical tips for new moms on giving baby a massage the right way. Though I have been a mommy for more than three years now but this is something I overlooked the first time. But this time I want to be more prepared than the first time and these tips are really good for an expecting mom like me.
There is a long list of reasons why you should be giving your baby a massage, so it is surprising that few parents actually take the time to do it. As an adult, you enjoy a massage to soothe sore and exhausted muscles and invoke relaxation, but a baby gets a lot more out of a massage than just the feeling of being pampered.
Why Massage a Baby?
- Emotional bond – Interestingly, a routine massage is suggested to improve the bond that you have with your child.
- Improved Overall Health – Massaging a baby can improve digestion, sleeping patterns, circulation and muscle tone. It also stimulates all body systems.
- Developmental – Massage can help with coordination and cognitive development.
- Other – Additional benefits that baby receives through massage includes, reduced stressed for parent and child and relives symptoms of colic.
A massage is only as good as the environment that surrounds it. Trying to give a massage while watching a loud television in a bright room is not very soothing. Make sure that the room is a comfortable temperature and free of drafts; experts suggest 75 degrees Fahrenheit as being ideal. The room should be quiet, but soothing music or the sound from a fountain can be nice.
Always make sure that you have at least 20 to 30 minutes to devote. Turn your phone off and give your baby your full attention. As a general rule, strokes should move from the center of the body outward, all movements should be repeated on both sides. Most importantly, if you use an oil, always make sure that it is an edible oil, such as virgin olive oil, sweet almost, pumpkin seed or calendula. Never use mineral oil! It contains neurotoxins and can stop the skin from breathing. Not to mention, if it is on their hands and they put their fingers in their mouth, you are just asking for serious health problems, both short-term and long-term!
Always be very gentle and observant of how your child reacts to different techniques. You will eventually learn that they like and dislike certain things.
- Rolling Massage – Your baby should be laying or sitting as you begin at the thigh or shoulder and roll down the limbs. Gently massage the limbs back and forth as if you are rolling out a long piece of dough to create a pretzel.
- Milking Massage – As the name implies, the movement is quite similar to milking a cow. You form a bracelet with your hands around the upper arm or thigh and slowly slide your hands downward to the wrist or ankle.
- Bicycle and Butterfly – This is a fantastic technique to stimulate digestion and circulation. While your baby is on their back, hold their feet or ankles. Now, gently move them in a way that looks like they are riding a bicycle. The knees should come up to the stomach without causing any discomfort. When you are ready to do the upper body, you hold their wrists, bringing them in toward their chest and then moving them outward like a fluttering butterfly.
- Waterwheel – If your baby has a tummy ache, this is a good technique to promote digestion and soothe discomfort. Very gently start at an outer edge and slowly move your hands, one after the other like a waterwheel.
You may find that your baby enjoys being talked to in a soothing voice. Massage is a great addition to a bedtime routine as well. Follow the massage up with a warm bath, a story and a kiss, and they will likely fall asleep right away, and possibly stay asleep even longer!
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