A Holistic guide to Infant Massage at Home – Purpose, Benefits and Ways

Who doesn’t love a good massage session, whether an adult, a baby or an oldie. But it can often be scary for first time mothers who are new to this, also because it is the most important and essential part of a new born’s routine and they want to get it just right for their tots. The First time I massaged my baby, I was so apprehensive and had uncountable questions in my mind like…… Am I doing it correctly, I hope my hands are not hurting him, is my technique safe, is he enjoying the session? Let’s begin with the purpose of an infant massage.

A relaxed baby after massage

Purpose and Importance of Baby Massage

The purpose of infant massage is to promote the physical, emotional, and social development of babies. It aims to strengthen the bond between the caregiver and the baby while providing numerous benefits for the baby’s overall well-being.

Benefits of Baby Massage-

Here are some of the benefits of day to day Baby Massage:

Massage helps build a strong emotional connection between the mother (or parent, as fathers are now equally involved in the upbringing of the kids) and the baby, fostering a sense of security and trust. Infant massage also helps a mother alleviate her postpartum baby blues. Also the bond between a mum and her tot is strengthened through skin to skin and eye contact.

Gentle massage techniques can relax the baby’s muscles, release tension, and promote relaxation, leading to improved sleep patterns and reduced stress. Baby massage lowers levels of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone and stimulates melatonin production, which in turn regulates sleep cycles. So in turn baby cries less and sleeps more!

Infant Massage can aid in digestion and alleviate common discomforts like gas, colic, and constipation. Massage induces a kind of vibration in the body and facilitates in calming a fussy baby.

Through touch, massage stimulates the baby’s senses, enhances body awareness, and supports sensory and motor development. Studies show that newborns who received massage appeared more aware, gained more weight per day and had increased motor skills.

Infant Massage provides an opportunity for verbal and non-verbal communication, promoting language acquisition and body awareness.

Regular massage can boost the baby’s immune system, helping them fight off illnesses and promoting overall health.

How to do Infant Massage – Techniques and more!

How to do infant massage

I wanted to be so hands on and safe while massaging my baby that I even attended Baby massage classes. Now there are some simple bases everyone can cover when starting with a newborn massage. Below are some of the tips to give your little one a good time.

It is important to choose a quiet, warm, and comfortable space. Choose a comfortable but flat surface. Dim the lights, play soft music, and make sure you have all the necessary supplies nearby, such as baby oil or lotion. Place baby on a towel or a massage mat. All this plays an important role in making massage a relaxing experience for the baby.

Consent is the most important thing before you begin a massage session. Always seek permission from the baby before starting the massage. It gives the baby time to understand what is about to happen. It also shows them what respectful touch is. Observe their cues and ensure they are comfortable and receptive.

Begin with gentle strokes and caresses all over the baby’s body to help them relax and become familiar with your touch. Comfort of our baby should be utmost priority. Gentle touch ensures our baby is not going to burst into tears or get irritated.

Use gentle, rhythmic strokes to massage each body part, including the legs, arms, back, chest, tummy, and face. Use appropriate pressure and adjust your techniques based on the baby’s response.

Massage baby’s feet using soft, gentle strokes. Massage baby’s legs, working the shins and the thighs. Flip baby over and massage their back. Massage baby’s chest but avoid delicate head and neck area as their head still has a soft spot. For gas relief massage in a clockwise direction on baby’s stomach and execute the “I LOVE YOU” massage with your hands as in the picture below.

I love you massage

You can also hold baby’s knees and feet together and gently press knees up toward their abdomen or rotate baby’s hips around a few times to the right clockwise.

Use a natural, baby-friendly oil or lotion to reduce friction and nourish the baby’s skin during the massage. Be mindful of any allergies or sensitivities. For summers cold pressed coconut oil is the best. For winters one can always try almond oil and other essential oils. Also never use undiluted essential oils on babies as they are too concentrated and can cause skin irritation.

Observe the baby’s reactions and cues throughout the massage. If they show signs of discomfort or resistance, adjust your technique or stop the massage if needed. One should know when to stop during a session responding to one’s baby’s cues. So the next time your baby cries or shows signs of discomfort during massage, pause, make eye contact and see the difference in the way you and your baby bond!

Babies are born ready to communicate to us. They love to hear us talk especially when you talk to them in a warm, happy voice. Talk softly, sing, and maintain eye contact with your baby during the massage to enhance the connection and communication. This also helps in priming their language skills, increasing their concentration and cognitive ability

There is no need to bath the baby immediately after massage. Most babies doze off during the massage times as they enter into deep relaxation state. So use only a little oil that can be absorbed by the baby’s skin and remember massage and bath can happen anytime during the day.

Regularity is key. Aim for daily or frequent massage sessions to establish a routine and maximize the benefits.

Right time to massage….

There is no right time to massage as such. It can be done anytime during the day. However one needs to keep in mind that massage should never be done immediately after a feed and always when your baby is calm, awake and alert. Also adults may need a massage duration of 45 minutes but for a baby a massage session should not exceed 15 minutes.

End note:

Massage benefits are manifold but one should always take their child’s lead as each baby is unique, so it’s essential to be attentive to their individual needs, preferences, and comfort levels during the massage. Also never perform an infant massage mechanically as a chore that needs to be done. Your technique may not be perfect but in the end it should be safe and fun for your baby. If you’re unsure about specific techniques or have concerns, it’s recommended to seek guidance from a qualified professional or attend a baby massage class.

Always enjoy this beautiful bonding time with your child with love and warmth in your hands and voice!!

Debunking 5 Common Baby Care Myths, Boosting Breast Milk Supply naturally, Pregnancy Ultrasound Scans: Benefits and Comprehensive List, 10 Essential tips for Postpartum Self-Care, Infant Massage Tips and Techniques, Newborn massage at Home

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