Baby Massage in Five Easy Steps

2016 April 19
by Helen Colella


 

Many adults know the benefits of massage therapy. But did you know that massage can also be useful for babies as well?

The baby massage has been around for generations; usually passed down from grandmother to mother to daughter. However, current research shows it’s become a popular child-rearing tool with new parents today. 

According to the pediatric care center at the Mayo Clinic and therapeutic massage instructors, the gentle techniques of rubbing, kneading, caressing, stroking, and pressing provides many benefits. Massage for babies can relieve muscle soreness and teething pain, reduce the stress of colic and ease the discomfort of constipation. Baby massage also aids in circulation and oxygen supply, promoting better sleep habits and releases hormones, enzymes and stimulates digestion. 

Many pediatric health care givers also believe that longlasting effects of baby massage include improved flexibility, movement and coordination, a stronger immune system to help build resistance to disease, and a better sense of self, which can lead to healthy self-esteem. Most importantly, baby massage builds a close bond between parent and child.

Being prepared, physically and mentally is an important part of the massage process. The following five steps are a guide for you to ensure a successful massage. 

  1. Set aside ample time to complete the massage process; it’s suggested that both parent and child) are relaxed and calm, usually about 30 minutes after the baby has eaten and that the room temperature is warm. 
  2. Undress baby for easy access and place her on a soft surface for comfort and safety. 
  3. Prepare your hands with cream or oil hands so they’ll be soft and warm. 
  4. Begin at your baby’s legs and toes, and then proceed to the stomach, chest, arms, and head. 
  5. Allow your baby to change position—this is a relaxing time for both of you, and you can go back and do the body parts you missed. 

Remember, your touch is crucial. Use a soft, gentle touch like when you rub your eyelids. Be sure to make eye contact while talking to your baby in a pleasant, soothing, reassuring voice or perhaps singing a lullaby. If your baby is not in the mood for a massage, she will let you know. Not to worry—massage is not for every baby or every parent. Trying again at another time might prove more successful.

If you unsure about massaging your baby, there are many resources online that can help, you become familiar with the process. One video presented by Christy Haller, a certified infant massage instructor and Certified Massage Therapist at Mayo Clinic shows how to massage your baby: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxSer71o7cg

 

 


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