When to start?
The day the baby is born you can start massaging your baby. You must be extra careful while giving your baby a massage like you should touch the baby’s navel area until the falling off of the umbilical cord stump which takes place after seven days of the baby’s birth.
According to various researchers, massage is very beneficial for the premature babies especially.The premature babies relax due to massaging and find it soothing which is proved due to lowering of pulse rates and rise in oxygen level, unlike the hospital care where just the opposite occurs.
What environment is needed for the message?
The favorable environment for giving the baby a massage is a warm room without temperature ideally 26 C where the baby feels comfortable. You should know that babies lose heat quickly when their cover is removed and the oil used for massaging also reduces the body heat of the baby.
The place where the baby is given a message should be quiet and serene. Avoid giving your baby a massage in a room with a television or any other object which might cause disruption and break the serenity of the environment. Both the baby as well as its parent will enjoy the massage in the tranquil environment.
What time of the day is best for baby’s massage?
When the baby is wide awake and is in a happy mood then the message should be given. Many parents give their baby a massage after giving it a bath or before giving it a bath. But remember the ideal time to give a baby massage is when the parent is relaxed since the baby tends to get affected by its parent mood.
You should not give your baby a massage right after feeding it. You should at least wait for an hour after feeding your baby and then give a message to your baby. If you immediately start massaging your baby after feeding then it might start vomiting. Also, don’t start giving your baby a massage before feeding it because the message might have some adverse effect on the baby when it is hungry.
How long should a massage take?
The usual time consumed by a baby massage is 20-30 minutes. Owing to the small body of the baby a massage can be completed in this much time. If you are a beginner in giving your baby a massage then do not worry if it takes a little longer to massage and also to get habituated to the various techniques of baby massage.
You can always enroll yourself and your baby to the baby massage classes in order to learn to message properly. Such classes are held in local clinics or hospitals. The best way to learn baby massaging is in an interactive class, where the master massages the baby in front of you, giving you the necessary instruction and showing you the techniques.
Besides this, you can always learn baby massaging with the help of books, especially the ones with illustrations. You can always take help of videos and DVDs in learning baby massage stepwise. After you learn the necessary techniques you will find that in two weeks or so, baby massage is at the tip of your fingers.
How often should a baby be massaged?
It will best if the message forms a part of the baby’s daily routine. You should know that even a massage for just 15 minutes can be beneficial for your baby. However, if baby messaging is not possible every day then you should massage your baby at least 3 days a week in order to get positive results.
What oils should be used?
While massaging your baby there is skin to skin contact. So always massage your baby after removing all its clothes. With the use of oils, you can massage your baby smoothly without any friction while giving long strokes.It is suggested that you use natural oils, such as almond oil, grape-seed oil or extra virgin olive oil since they are easily absorbed by the skin.
The ideal pressure to use on a baby is comparable to that obtained when closing your eyes and pressing the eyelids without any uneasiness. Use your fingertips around small areas and use your palm while massaging bigger areas like your baby’s back and chest.
Points to note:
- You should be careful while picking up your baby after giving it a massage since the babies become slippery after an oil massage.
- Don’t use nut oil if you detect any symptoms of nut allergy in your baby.
- Until and unless you are advised by an aromatherapist avoid using aromatherapy oils while giving your baby a massage.
- Don’t give your baby a body massage if he has a fever.
A Step By Step Description of Massage Techniques
1. The ideal time to give your baby a massage is when you and your little one, both are relaxed. A baby is usually relaxed half an hour after its meal.
2. Give your baby a massage in a warm room. First, remove its clothes and during winter cover those areas which are not massaged.
3. Keep some pillows around and always keep your baby soft comfortable surface while giving it a massage.
4. While giving your baby a massage move from head to toe. Massage gently on the head face, arms and then come down to chest, stomach, and legs.
5. While giving your baby a massage notice your baby’s reactions and talk to it whatever you like. This will help in developing visual and tactile communication.
6. Don’t be aggressive. If your baby wants to change its position in the middle of the massage then let it do so. You can massage the untouched areas later on.
Step by Step Description:
The areas to be touched are forehead, temples, and the cranium base, eyebrows and eyelids, nose, cheeks, the mouth region, and the areas around the ear.
Gently touch the front portion of the neck. Make gentle strokes and slowly move down to the shoulders from the posterior part of the neck. Massage your baby’s shoulders softly in the direction of his chest.
Shoulders and arms
Enclose your baby’s arms in your fingers and thumb in form of a ring. Then starting from the armpit slowly move down along the baby’s arms. Be very careful when you reach the baby’s elbow and wrist region. These are very sensitive areas.
The stomach and the abdomen area should be massaged in circular motions. Caress the baby in the clockwise direction.
Use your whole hand to massage each leg of the baby. Press the thigh region very gently.
Heels and feet
You can help your baby to relax by giving it a foot massage. Start by putting soft pressures to its toe and then move down to the feet. Massage the baby’s heels in circular motions. Remember a foot massage often relieves the baby from stomach ache.
While massaging your baby back turns it around. In the begin move very slowly especially in the regions like head, neck, back and legs. Make sure you stick to one direction.Do not massage the baby‘s spinal cord region. You can also make circular movements on the baby’s back. Place your hands at the top of the legs and then gently massage in the direction of the foot.
After reaching the feet, begin massaging softly and slowly from the head to toe again.