Babies need to be touched in order to grow up physically and emotionally healthy. Massaging babies strengthens their immune system, helps muscle growth and reduces stress. This is a great way to bond with your little one and create a relaxing environment for both of you. Knowing how and when to massage your baby will help you get the most from this healing treatment.
- Make the baby comfortable.
Do the massage in a warm and dimly lit room. It is important that it is not too cold inside, because you will need to remove the baby’s clothes during the massage. Lay the baby on a soft towel or blanket that you cover on the floor or on a safe, flat surface. Open some soft music if you want.
You can massage your baby with his clothes off completely or in case of an accident while he is on the diaper. Choose the option that will make your baby the most comfortable.
If you want to massage your baby to soothe him before sleep, you can use the nursery as a massage room. So if he falls asleep during the massage, you can easily put him in his crib.
- Use edible oil.
If you want to use massage oil, use olive oil, avocado oil, or another edible oil as it can put baby’s fingers in their mouth. Do not use mineral oil or other non-edible oils as these are not possible to digest and may harm the baby’s stomach.
Do not use peanut oil, almond oil, and other oils made from common allergen foods.
If the oil is cold, rub the oil between your hands before applying it to the baby’s body.
- Use gentle scrubbing movements.
Do not massage your baby with the force you would apply to an adult. Use your fingers to gently rub your baby’s body, never press too hard or knead hard. Your goal is not to open up the grips or do deep tissue massage as in adults. You should use gentle, circular scrubbing movements to gently stimulate the baby’s skin.
You can massage the baby’s back, stomach, arms, legs, head and neck. Gently massage your baby’s entire body.
As the baby grows, you can apply a little more pressure. A toddler can handle a slightly stiffer massage than a baby under one year old.
- Massage in one direction.
The general practice is to massage the skin away from the heart. This has a calming effect on the body, so it’s a good technique if you want your baby to sleep more easily. You can also massage in the direction of the heart, but remember this has an uplifting effect. When you want your baby to feel more active, massage in the direction of the heart.
Decide the direction of the massage based on the time you massage your baby. If it’s playtime, an invigorating massage can keep the baby entertained. However, applying such a massage just before bedtime will probably not have the effect you want.
Massage against the direction of the heart is a great way to calm a cranky baby.
- Try the milking massage.
This is a good technique that can be applied to your baby’s arms and legs. Make a circle or C-shape on your baby’s arm or leg with your index finger and thumb. Use a very gentle pulling motion against your foot or hand, like milking a cow. Repeat this movement a few times.
Be careful never to hold the baby too tightly and not to twist the joints.
Continue until you have massaged all of the baby’s limbs.
- Don’t tickle your baby while massaging.
The massage should be relaxing and tickling may bother your baby. Help your baby understand the time of the massage as a relaxing and calming bonding session. Your baby needs to know what to expect, and tickling can be shocking or overstimulating.
- Massage your baby before bedtime.
As mentioned above, massage is a great way to help your baby calm down and fall asleep. Applying the massage regularly at certain times ensures that your baby has a good sleep time routine. Make the massage a part of your nighttime ritual, following bathing and other family routines. Start the massage about half an hour before your baby’s bedtime.
- Massage When Your Baby Is Grumpy
He sees massage as an effective way to calm babies, especially when they are irritable.
First, make sure your baby’s other needs are met so that he is comfortable during the massage. The baby may be crying because they are hungry or tired, or for some other reason. If he has not eaten his dinner yet, he will not enjoy the massage much.
Wait 45 minutes after meals. Massaging your baby right after eating can cause stomach upset. Babies vomit very easily, and any massage action has the potential to knock them off their last meal. Give your baby enough time to digest his food before you massage it.
- Massage him in a good mood.
Babies sometimes don’t want massage, and it is important to stop when the baby signals of displeasure. If the baby stiffens and cries, stop the massage and try a massage another time, when the baby likes to be touched.
If your baby seems to be in pain when you massage it, make sure your technique is gentle enough. If your technique isn’t the problem, you can take her to the pediatrician to find out why she’s painful during the massage.
If your baby is enjoying the massage, he or she will appear relaxed and not bothered by touching him.
- The massage is increased to half an hour.
First, start by massaging for just five minutes. This gives her baby time to get used to the massage sensation and to understand whether she likes it or not. Reach up to half an hour by massaging a little longer each time. This is the ideal daily time to massage your baby.
Massage has numerous benefits. Massage helps your baby grow, improves the immune system and keeps the digestive system healthy. It also reduces stress and aids emotional development.
Also, massaging your baby helps you bond. It’s a great way for fathers to bond with their babies.
- Massage your baby’s legs and feet.
Draw circles on your baby’s upper leg with your thumb and index finger. Gently pat your leg from the top to your feet, then rub your feet with your thumbs. Bend your toes open. Do the procedure on the other leg, then bend and unbend the baby’s knees at the same time.
You can start from any part of the baby’s body. Many people like to start from the legs and feet to make it easier for the baby to move from playtime to calm down. The baby may kick and wiggle while massaging his legs and feet.
Remember to be very gentle; pulling on baby’s legs or bending their knees without excessive pressure. If he goes against it and straightens his legs, don’t force him to bend his knees.
- Massage his chest and stomach.
This is the most relaxing phase of the massage. Begin by massaging out from the middle of the chest, against the heart, and run your hands gently over the baby’s skin as if you were straightening the pages of a book. Then, massage the baby’s belly with a clockwise rubbing motion. This is in the same direction as the digestive movement. Keep doing this massage until your baby seems calm.
If you are massaging as part of the play clock, you can massage your baby’s chest towards the heart instead of the opposite one, making the baby feel more alive.
While massaging your baby, be careful not to tickle their tummy.
- Massage the baby’s head and face.
Use your fingers to draw circles on the head. With your fingers, gently “walk” on your forehead and cheeks and draw a smile on your lips. Stay away from your baby’s eyes and nose, because massaging too close to these areas can make him uncomfortable.
- Massage your baby’s back.
Gently turn your baby face down and lay it on his stomach. Massage your back by running your hands across the middle of your back. Do not squeeze and knead the baby’s shoulders like you would massage an adult. Instead, use circular motions to rub your shoulders and lower back.
Keep a diaper handy in case the baby is urinating.
Don’t forget to speak quietly with your baby during the massage. Tell your baby what you did or how your day was.
Focus on decisive and gentle movements. Massage movements should not be too light because it may cause the baby to be tickled. Strong movements can hurt or disturb the baby.
Very young babies want to be cuddled during the massage. You can pull the little babies on their knees or pull their legs to their stomach and lay them on their feet. You can sit cross-legged or sit with the soles of your feet touching each other.
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Author: Mr. Article
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