13 EFFECTIVE WAYS TO MASSAGE A BABY
We all have seen a baby smiling and giggling when they are massaged by someone. A good body massage for a baby is key to good sleep and undoubtedly healthy bones. As babies, till they reach six months of age, are unable to crawl or shift positions, massaging helps in proper blood circulation and makes them feel comfortable. You can even soothe a cranky child by rubbing him/her gently.
Massaging a baby strengthens your bond with the child. It helps you discover your baby’s favourite spots where he/ she enjoys getting rubbed or receiving your gentle touch. Massaging the baby on such points releases good hormones and makes the child stress-free and less cranky.
Babies are born with little immunity so parents try every possible way to boost their immune system. Massaging your child also helps you strengthen your baby’s immunity. That is why “Baby Malish”is an age-old practice where a caregiver or some experienced member from the family gives a good massage to the baby. Many people like to keep their babies under the sunlight after the oil massage as that helps in the formation of Vitamin D.
Many new mothers and even expecting mothers are in a dilemma about massaging their baby, how much pressure is necessary, and the pros and cons of a baby massage. They are even skeptical about which baby oil or baby lotion to use that will suit the delicate skin of their child and also facilitate a good massage.
This article will give you tips about baby massage and discuss 13 effective ways to massage a baby. Read on to know more on How to Massage Newborn Baby or an infant:
- Make the baby comfortable: The main idea behind any kind of massage is to make one comfortable. Like adults, babies too have an understanding of comfort and discomfort. It is absolutely not necessary to always indulge in rigorous massage techniques whenever you think of massaging your child. Sometimes just touching the baby with love and affection is as good as a massage. You can simply go for a nice foot rub, for instance, and make the baby feel jolly. There are various baby lotions available in the market. Choose a chemical-free, natural lotion to give a nice massage to your baby. Most babies suffer from gas and flatulence. So giving them a good massage on their tummy helps them burp and relieves them of excess bowel gas. You can start massaging underneath the baby’s ribs and move your hands in a circular direction. This kind of massage helps in easy digestion and keeps the baby happy.
- Use edible oil: You can use edible oil like olive oil, mustard oil, etc., or any other oil as prescribed by your paediatrician to give a nice oil massage to your little one. Oil massaging babies is a practice going on from time immemorial, more so because of all the benefits it provides. A good oil massage nourishes the baby’s delicate skin and prevents it from getting dry. Oil massage also saturates the skin making the skin soft and supple. Many mothers choose to oil massage their babies after a bath as the skin remains hydrated and moisturized. In India, oil massaging is a practice that is usually done before a bath. A nice “tel-malish” followed by keeping the baby under sunlight is believed to create wonders for the child.
Babies who suffer from neonatal jaundice are also oil massaged and kept under the sunlight for a pretty long time.
There are a variety of good-quality baby oils in the market. You can talk to your pediatrician regarding which baby oil will suit your child the most depending on the sensitivity of his/ her skin.
3. Use gentle rubbing motions: Gentle rubbing motions aid in the good blood circulation of your child. While Massaging A Newborn Baby you must be extra cautious as the baby’s skin is very delicate and sensitive. You must apply light strokes throughout the baby’s body instead of concentrating on one specific part of the body. This will make the child enjoy the massage and feel secure. You need not always undress the child for a massage. Sometimes rubbing the baby on their back over their clothes also makes them feel happy too.
4. Massage in one direction: You can massage the baby in one direction from the naval and go downwards especially when the child is constipated or is feeling uncomfortable due to indigestion. For a newborn baby, make use of fingers primarily for massage as the baby’s bones are still very delicate. Massaging in one direction is beneficial for newborn babies. Gradually when the baby grows older, you can start applying more pressure and massage in multiple directions.
5. Try a rolling massage: Sometimes rolling the baby on a soft surface can make your child’s delicate muscles stronger. When the baby is rolling over, you can give a good massage on the head, nape, and shoulders. You can apply a motion in the back-and-forth direction. When the child rolls over, it gives you the chance to give a good massage throughout the back of the child right from the head to the ankles. This aids in proper blood circulation and relaxes the muscles of the child. A back massage is beneficial and extremely relaxing for the baby as the babies mostly lie on their backs. So a back massage makes them feel comfortable.
6. Don’t tickle your baby when you massage them: Tickling babies is a common phenomenon as all of us must have witnessed a giggling child being tickled. Many times we misunderstand that giggling with happiness or enjoyment but in reality, tickling might disturb your baby and the baby is too small to express that. Sometimes tickling may lead the baby to even gasp for breath. So you must be careful while massaging that in no way the touch creates a tickling sensation in the child. Tickling makes the child helpless and makes them feel scared and dominated.
7. Massage your baby before their bedtime: Giving a nice massage to your baby before bedtime helps them sleep well. It is important to create a conducive environment for the baby each night so that the baby gradually understands that this is sleep time. Giving a gentle massage with a lotion on their face or even at their feet at night soothes the child and makes them ready for sleep. Babies who are generally cranky and fussy at night and have a disturbed sleep cycle can be highly benefited by setting a night routine. Making the room temperature conducive to the climate, dimming the lights, and giving a cozy massage will surely help your baby sleep early and sleep better.
A bedtime massage also makes the baby feel more secure and comfortable and creates a loving bond with the parents.
8. Massage them when they’re in the mood: Like adults, babies can also exhibit several moods throughout the day. If they are not in a mood to take a massage, a massage might not help. Watch out for signs on the baby’s face to understand his/ her mood. If a baby looks relaxed and calm with a constant gaze it’s evident that he/ she will enjoy a good massage. Similarly, if the baby tries to move away from you or withdraws himself/ herself, know that it’s not a good time for a massage. You should also avoid giving even a light massage just after feeding as that may make the baby uncomfortable or even make him/ her vomit. Generally, when the baby is in a playful mood and moving his/ her hands and legs, you can give them a nice massage to make them more active.
9. Work up to a half–hour massage: Babies cannot handle messages for a prolonged period, unlike adults. Depending on the age and the mood of the child you can fix the duration of the massage. You can start with a 15 minutes massage and gradually work up to half an hour at the maximum. Prolonging the massage beyond this time can make the baby feel bored and even exhausted. The prime focus should be to make the baby enjoy the process of massaging and not getting tired out of it. Each child is different and the way they react to a massage is also different. You are the best judge to decide how much and how long a massage is good for your baby.
10. Massage their legs and feet- We all know how a nice foot massage can make us refreshed and happy. Babies are no different. Massaging their legs and feet in a proper way can not only uplift their mood but strengthen their leg muscles as well. For a good leg massage, get a grip of the heel of one leg of your baby and exert light pressure on his/ her thighs with your hand that is free. The pressure should be light yet firm and it should be directed from the upward to the downward direction reaching up to the ankle. In the process, keep pressing the legs gently. Once you have continued with this motion for a considerable time, you can shift positions and continue to do the same thing in the opposite direction.
For a good foot massage, you can gently press your baby’s feet using your thumbs. Go to the toes and apply those gentle strokes and pressure to stimulate the area. Once you are done with one leg, go to the other leg and repeat the same.
11. Massage their chest and tummy: A good tummy massage aids in digestion and frees the baby from unwanted gas and bloating. Tummy massage is also effective in good bowel movement and keeps away constipation, a condition that can be painful for babies. For massaging the tummy, put your forefinger upon the navel of the baby and move your finger in a circular direction from left to right extending up to the sides of the tummy. For a newborn, just using your forefinger is enough for a tummy massage. Gradually when the baby grows up, you can make use of more fingers to increase the pressure in and around the tummy.
A nice chest massage can relieve the baby from cold and chest congestion, a condition that may affect most babies more than once. Runny nose, chest congestion, cough, and cold are symptoms that babies exhibit multiple times. Apart from medicines, a good oil massage on the chest can help the baby get rid of the mucus. You can gently rub the baby’s chest with a little warm oil and move your hands gradually from the centre towards the sides. The motion may resemble the one we apply to smoothen the tangled pages of a book. Massaging the chest lightly from the upward to the downward direction up to the diaphragm can also ease the child of the mucus and make them feel better during a cold.
12. Massage their head and face: A head massage is always refreshing and babies are no different. We can take a little hair oil and gently move your fingers over the scalp of the baby every day. Most babies tend to showcase dry scalps and this will keep the scalp hydrated. But you should be careful while giving a head massage to a baby, especially till they are at least a month old. Since the bones on the head of a newborn baby are very soft and delicate, you must avoid applying any pressure on the forehead. You can make use of just your finger to apply some gentle strokes on the head. A nice head massage may help the baby sleep well.
You can massage the face of the baby with a little lotion to keep the skin moisturized and soft. Just like massaging the tummy, fingers play an important role in the face massage of the baby. Here, you can use your thumbs and move them above the upper lip from the centre to the sides. Repeat the same motion below the lower lips starting from the centre to the sides. The motion may seem as if you are painting your baby’s face with a smile. In a similar manner, you can make use of your thumbs and gently massage the face above the eyebrows coming down till the chin starting from the middle of the forehead. This motion may resemble the drawing of a heart on the baby’s face.
13. Massage their back: For a back massage too, fingers play a big role. First, make the baby lie on his/ her tummy to expose the back completely. You can use the tip of your fingers and make small circular movements on both sides of the backbone. Use your fingers to massage gently from the top of the back till the buttocks, with the same circular motion. While giving a back massage to your child, you may see that your bundle of joy is trying to flex their back muscles and is trying to make a posture. A back massage may help the child overcome the discomfort he/ she faces by constantly lying on his / her back.
Thus, if you are a new mother and are curious to know How To Massage a Baby, this article will help you get all your answers on the techniques of baby massage. The benefits of a massage are undeniable and when it comes to your little one, you think of giving the best massage. You can avail some good baby oil or baby lotions that will help you in your baby massage. If you have any confusion, visit baby wellness websites where you will get a lot of information about which products to purchase for your little one.
Every parent wants to avail the best treatment for their babies. Massaging has therapeutic benefits when they are done with the best products that are natural, harmless, and free of chemicals. So, make use of the best wellness products for your child and set a good massaging routine for them for good health and the overall development of your little one.