After completing a workshop on baby massage and baby yoga, I wanted to share here what I’d learnt and how much it could benefit your own baby or the children in your care. If after reading this you’d like to introduce infant massage into your baby/child’s routine you can find my step by step guide on how to massage correctly and safely here… The Magic of Baby Massage
What is Infant Massage and how can it benefit my baby?
Infant Massage is a therapy for babies. Massaging your baby is such a special practice for you and your partner to bond with your little one; or if your a Nanny, it’s a special way to bond with the infant/toddler in your care. Infant massage has many benefits such as, improving weight gain, aiding digestion, improving circulation and can ease teething pain.
It is also an incredible way to soothe your baby and support them to sleep. Infant massage helps relieve issues with your babies sinuses, for example if they have a cold or stuffy nose and can also aid babies who are suffering with colic.
Touch is a powerful way to communicate love to your baby and although Newborns seem so delicate, don’t be afraid to start a baby massage routine shortly after birth, as routine massage leads to their happy, healthy baby development.
If you’re wanting to massage a toddler and you haven’t implemented it into their routine before, then it can be slightly harder to get them to stay still. You can break up the massage sequence throughout the day or over several days for this reason, as more than likely they will not stay still for a full body massage, usually taking 30 minutes – especially if they’ve never had it done before. If they aren’t wanting to lie down for a massage, you are able to massage them sitting or standing up. But always ask permission and ensure they are happy for you to do it.
Products to use…
Remember – All skin is different. Before you start using any of the products, ensure you test a small amount on your babies skin. You can do a patch test by putting a pea size amount on babies elbow and rub in. Leave for 5/10 minutes and if there is no reaction, you should be okay to continue.
The best oil to use on your baby is fractionated coconut oil, because it has MCT ( Medium-chain fatty acids) oil, meaning it comes in liquid form. It acts as the perfect natural moisturizer and can nourish any baby with dry skin, due to vitamins and healthy fats present in it.
Coconut Oil is also a fantastic product to eliminate cradle cap. You can rub it, gently into babies scalp and leave for half an hour or overnight, then comb and wash out. If you do this daily, you will see a difference.
Other products that you could use for baby massage are: Rapeseed oil, Calendula oil and Grapeseed oil. Avoid any aroma therapy/essential oils and anything that has a strong scent, as this is actually bad for your baby, can affect their sensitive nose and if ingested could cause harm.
When are the best times to massage?
What time of the day to do the massage is up to you, to do a full body massage on a Newborn can take 15-20 minutes depending on their size and how slow/fast you do it. Toddlers tend to take longer, as they struggle to sit still for long periods of time. Like I said above, you can break up each massage sequence throughout the day, depending on how much time you have or how baby/toddler is feeling.
Massaging after bath in the evening, is the best time to do it. Your baby’s muscles will be warm, you can create a relaxing and cosy space around the both of you to perform the massage, before feeding/getting them ready for bed. We all know that when we have massages ourselves, it relaxes us and can make us very sleepy – Infant massage has the same affect on your baby/toddler, so doing the massage sequence after bath right before bed is the perfect time.
When shouldn’t you massage a baby/toddler?
Massaging your baby too soon after feeding may cause them to vomit so it is best to wait 30 minutes before starting massage, to allow your baby’s tummy to settle. If your baby is suffering with reflux it is difficult to tell what time is best, so you just have to go with your best judgment.
If you baby/toddler is on any antibiotics, has a disability or you are concerned about implementing/continuing massage in their routine, just ask their doctor for advice and reassurance on what’s best.
Before starting massage you should always ask your baby/toddlers permission. You can do this by verbally asking permission, then ‘reading’ your baby’s response cues. You can find more details on asking permission in my downloadable step by step infant massage guide.
If you’d like to introduce Infant massage into your baby’s/child routine, you can download my step by step guide on how to do it correctly and safely here…. The Magic of Baby Massage