A simple massage may perform wonders for your baby, whether you’re putting him to sleep or alleviating his gassy belly, and the power is in your compassionate touch.
You’re not the only one who occasionally desires a relaxing body rub. A gentle laying of hands is also highly calming — and even therapeutic — for babies. Because touch is one of the five senses which is most developed at birth, baby massage has been shown to have significant advantages in helping newborns grow and flourish.
What are the benefits of infant massage?
It may aid your baby with digestive difficulties and teething pains and enhance his muscular growth, quiet him when he’s irritable, and put him to sleep.
But the benefits don’t end there: All of your caressing and touching will help you bond with your infant. These gentle massages can begin the day you bring your newborn home. You may also urge your partner to try their hand at newborn massage, which is a great way to bond.
How to give your baby an infant massage
For Legs – Hold your baby’s heel in one hand and, as if you were milking a cow, begin at the top of the thigh and slowly stroke down to the ankle, softly squeezing the leg as you go. Reverse the action and work your way up from the ankle to the thigh. Then use your thumbs to rub the feet, gently uncurling and massaging the toes. Use the same strokes on the hands.
For Head – Begin by placing your hands on both sides of your baby’s head, then along both sides of his body, from head to toes. Next, use your fingertips to make little circles on your baby’s head.
For Face – Fold your hands over your baby’s brow and gently press outward from the middle. Next, create a grin on your baby’s face with your thumb by stroking from one cheek to the other over the top lip. Repeat on the bottom lip.
For Chest – Fold your hands on your baby’s chest and push them out to the sides as if smoothing the pages of an open book.
For Tummy – Draw an ellipse underneath your baby’s belly button with your fingertips. Then, on the diagonal, “walk” your fingertips from one side of your baby’s abdomen to the other, as if creating an “X.”
For Back – Stroke his backside from side to side, then back and forth.
Massage tips for infants
Before you give your newborn an infant massage, keep the following in mind:
- Make it a habit to massage your baby every day. Consider giving massage to your kid at the same time each day so that he becomes accustomed to it and enjoys it. In general, pick a time when you are not in a rush and when your baby isn’t hungry or too full.
- If you’re going to use massage oil, be sure it’s non-scented and edible. If your hands slide more freely over your baby’s body, it will be more comfortable for you. Coconut oil is a good choice since it absorbs quickly into the baby’s skin and is easily digested just in case he suckles on his hands or fingers.
- Choose a location that is convenient for both of you. The atmosphere should be warm enough to prevent your naked infant from getting a cold as he relaxes after your massage. You can massage your child in your bed or on the changing table. Use the opportunity to talk and sing to your infant or play some peaceful music in the background.
- Pay attention to your baby’s signals. When you’re not in the mood to receive a massage, you don’t enjoy it, and your kid is no exception. Save the session for later if he looks away, frowns, or screams when you put your hands on him. Also, don’t feel obligated to provide a full-body massage every time. It’s also okay if your baby thinks it’s enough after you’ve touched his legs and feet.
- Be careful and don’t put too much pressure on it, otherwise it may become overwhelming. Another infant massage trick: Stroking away from the heart (for example, from shoulder to wrist) is soothing and hence more suited for pre-nap or pre-bedtime massages. Stroking along the direction of the heart (from wrist to shoulder) is more stimulating and better suited to when your infant is awake and active. You may also perform a combination of the two.