Welcome to part one of my Baby Massage How-to Series. In this series of eight, I will be sharing tips and advice on including massage in your baby’s routine and using it to help soothe, calm and connect.
For the baby receiving and the person giving, massage has numerous benefits, however these will only be appreciated if the conditions for massage are right. Before you begin consider the when, what, where and how of baby massage.
WHEN – Massage can be enjoyed any time of day but make sure you are both ready, your baby calm and alert and you not feeling rushed. Avoid massaging when your baby is hungry or unsettled, has a temperature or seems unwell. Whenever you massage always make sure your baby is happy for you to do so. Always watch and listen to their cues and if they’ve had enough give them a break or leave the massage for another day.
WHAT – All you need is a comfortable place to lay your baby plus some oil to massage and you’re ready to go! A waterproof mat with a soft towel on top will be comfy and practical while a bottle of oil with a flip-top or pump cap is ideal to control the amount used and avoid spills.
WHERE – In the living room, in the bathroom (before or after bath-time), on your bed, the changing table and even alfresco in the summer! Anywhere can work as long as it’s warm and away from draughts. Make sure there is comfortable lighting – no bright overhead lights or sunlight in the eyes.
HOW – Try to make eye contact, speak and, if you like, sing to your baby as you massage. Ensure there are no distractions such as TV or mobile phone to take your attention away from your baby and just focus on enjoying this quality time together. If your baby is not keen on being naked just undress the part of the body you are working on. Avoid massaging over skin that has cuts, sores, recent bruising or is inflamed. If you have any medical concerns always check with a health professional.
In part two I share – How to connect with your baby through massage
To learn a full routine along with how to adapt the strokes as your baby grows visit IAIM to find a class near you.
Jayne Russell has over twenty years of experience as a pre’ and postnatal massage and nutritional therapist and is the founder of Nom Nom – award winning, certified organic pregnancy and baby skincare. Sign up for your free skincare guide “10 Steps to Super Healthy Baby Skin” at nomnomskincare.com