Massage is no longer important for adults only. Massage can be extremely therapeutic and enjoyable for young babies as well. Massage helps the baby to sleep better; it promotes good blood circulation and keeps the babies alert. It also helps in promoting muscle relaxation and strengthening the joints.
There are a number of reasons for massaging the baby. Touching, massaging and singing to your child helps the child to feel loved, warm and secure. It also helps the child to bond well with the mother. It helps to ease colic, tummy troubles and reduce the discomfort from teething. It helps to reduce aggression in infants and is very relaxing for the mother especially if she suffers from postnatal depression. Here are some tips to effectively massage a baby.
How To Give Your Baby A Massage
Pick a Time that is Relaxing
Ideally, a massage should follow with a bath. Try to massage and bathe the baby at a time that is least disturbing or distracting for you. You and the baby should be in a comfortable, airy room with minimal clutter and distracting noises where there is no telephone ringing or other kids screaming. Take at least 15-20 minutes to massage the infant.
Pick a Time that is Relaxing for the Baby
Do not massage the baby at an unearthly morning hour or just after a feed. Massaging the baby just after a feed may cause him/her to throw or spit up. Ideally massage the baby mid morning just before he/she has a bath. Follow this up with a hot bath and a feed. The baby will go into deep slumber from a relaxing massage and bath.
Set a Relaxing Scene
Make sure the room is comfortable and not too hot or cold. Switch off or dim the lights and play some soft music in the background, which the baby will enjoy. You can place the baby on the bed beneath a massage mat while you sit on a stool to massage the baby.
Use warm olive or coconut oil, which are the best oils for the baby. Warm the oil in between your hands before you start rubbing. Start from the baby’s legs. Gently massage the legs in small circular motions. Use gentle pressure on the limbs. Stroke the baby’s legs in an upward and downward motion for maximum benefits.
Now move to the hands and stroke them with the oil in an upward and downward motion. Massage the child’s fingers and palms lightly. Allow the oil to seep in completely. You can use firmer or deeper strokes on the baby’s hands and legs as if you are milking the baby.
Start to massage the baby’s tummy starting from the top in gentle and circular motions. Concentrate more on the area surrounding the belly button. This will also soothe colicky infants. Use liberal amounts of oil and massage the baby’s head in tiny circles. Smooth the baby’s forehead and cheeks with two fingers. Now gently turn the baby onto his/her tummy and massage the baby’s back and buttocks first up and down and then side to side. While working, coo, talk or sing to your child. You will happily watch your child gurgling, cooing and enjoying the massage.