Baby Massage

Massaging your new baby is a great way to get to know them and to create a loving, trusting bond between yourself and your child. Research has proven that there are numerous benefits to regularly massaging your baby including better sleeping and settling habits. And the great news is — baby massage is simple to learn and do.

When to start
You can start to massage your baby from any age but wait until you are comfortable handling your little one and start off with small sessions with a few simple stokes, say five minutes, if they are very young and work up to longer times. Go with your baby and massage for as little or as long as they enjoy it.

Benefits of baby massage
There are many benefits to infant massage including:

  • Promotes a strong bond between parent and baby
  • Helps baby to feel loved and secure
  • Parents start to become familiar with their baby’s visual cues
  • Increases parental confidence in handling their baby
  • Decreases stress and tension for parents and child
  • Relaxes baby and helps with sleep and settling
  • Encourages development of flexibility and co-ordination
  • Promotes stimulation of immune, circulatory and digestive systems
  • Can help to relieve wind, constipation and colic

Which oils/lotions?Use pure cold pressed vegetable, nut (do not use if there are nut allergies in the family) or fruit oils. Sweet almond oil is very popular as its light, easily absorbed into the skin and has a minimal aroma. Alternatively you can use a mixture of sorbolene and glycerine. You should steer clear of scented oils.

The perfect massage environment
Go for a dimly-lit room or one filled with gentle sunlight. Make sure the room temperature is adequate, especially in colder months, and avoid areas that are draughty. You may like to try playing some smoothing music. Alternatively you can sing or talk quietly to your baby. As your baby grows you can incorporate games and rhymes into the massage.
You can massage your baby on the bed (but be sure to keep a hand on them at all times) or the floor. Padded change mats covered with towels and blankets are great. If your baby is very small you might prefer to massage him/her on your knee.

top reads
Check out these books for more information on baby massage:

  • Baby Massage — Dr Alan Heath and Nicki Bainbridge
  • Massage Your Baby with Love — Maxine Green
  • Baby Touch — Wendy Kavanagh
  • Buy books about baby massage

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