Congratulations on having a little baby! It’s time to welcome your little bundle of joy into this world and give her everything she needs.
As a parent, you are probably very keenly paying attention to the little aspects of your baby’s wants and needs life – her clothes, her food, her bath supplies etc. As your baby starts growing, you may also need to start implementing massages to strengthen her bones and muscles, and get her more active and energetic.
It is believed that massaging the baby yourself can help strengthen your bond with her. There are a number of benefits of baby massage—better sleep, relief from colic pain, improvement in motor skills, enhanced intellectual development and even improvement in the baby’s immune system.
It is very important for a mother to know about the techniques of massaging a baby to provide its maximum benefits (and avoid unintentional injury!). This article discusses about techniques used to massage various body parts of your baby.
Baby Massage Essentials:
Before you start with a massage, you will need a few essentials.
- Massage oil or lotion
- Warm towel
- Light blanket
Tips on How To Massage A Baby:
- Before massage, always make sure that your baby is in a happy, alert mood.
- You must sit on the floor or on any flat surface, forming a diamond shape with your legs to rest your baby comfortably.
- Place a towel or a blanket over your feet and knees.
- Remove clothes and diaper from your baby and place her on the blanket, resting her head on your feet.
- Begin with a tender stroke from head to feet and see if your baby enjoys this, then continue massaging each body part, or you must stop if she is not feeling comfortable and try another day.
Beginning massage with legs would be best as they are less delicate than other body parts.
- Lift one of the legs by ankle and cheerfully tap the upper thigh.
- Gently stroke from thigh down to the foot and rotating in each direction a few times.
- Grasp the leg at thigh with both your hands and slowly stroke down from thigh to the foot, like how you would wring a towel.
- Massage heels up to toes with your thumb over thumb position. Then, using your palm, stroke the bottom and top of baby’s foot. Slowly, make circles with your thumb all over the bottom of each foot.
- At last, lightly squeeze and exert force over each toe.
After the legs, its time to move on to the arms for a massage.
- Hold baby’s wrist in your hand and relax it by lightly tapping on the upper arm.
- Lift your baby’s wrist in one of your hand; keeping your other hand around baby’s upper arm, cheerfully tap the upper arm.
- Gently stroke from upper arm down to the lower portion, rotating in each direction a few times.
- Grasp the upper arm with both of your hands and slowly stroke down from upper arm to the lower arm, like you are “milking”. Repeat these strokes on hands.
- Hold her palms and massage with your thumbs by tracing “circles”.
- Stroke from wrist to fingertips and then lightly squeeze and exert force over each finger.
- Wrists should be massaged while holding with your finger in encircling form.
Massaging the chest can get playful — your baby will most certainly love and enjoy it!
- Set both your hands in prayer position on your baby’s chest and gently stroke outwards from middle of the chest towards the shoulders.
- Starting from the upper portion of the chest, trace a heart shape with your hands while taking them up to the shoulders and then bringing them down and back together. Repeat these steps several times.
- From one side of baby’s hip up to the opposite shoulder, gently stroke in a crisscross pattern.
The abdomen should be massaged using gentle pressure- remember that the baby’s stomach is very delicate and sensitive.
- Tummy should be massaged with your fingertips in a clockwise, circular motion.
- Over the abdomen, “I Love U” stroke should be given.
- Tracine the letter I down the baby’s left side.
- Then, trace an inverted L while giving a stroke from belly to the ribs base from right side to the left and then down.
- Now, an inverted U should be traced by stroking from right side of belly up to the navel and then bringing down to the left side.
- Over the navel, walk your fingers in a clockwise manner.
- Squeeze knees and feet together and lightly press them towards the tummy and rotate baby’s buttocks around for a few times which helps in expelling gas.
- Hold baby’s abdomen while rocking your hands from side to side.
- Baby’s tummy massage should be avoided if the cord has not healed completely.
5. Face and Head:
And finally, it’s time for the face and head massage.
- Hold baby’s head in both of your hands and massage the scalp like you shampoo. Fontanel or the soft spot over baby’s head should not be pressed.
- Over the baby’s face, place your hands and trace a heart; then, bring them down together towards the chin.
- Set your thumbs between baby’s eyebrows, giving stroke in outward motion.
- Give strokes from the bridge of the nose out towards the cheek.
- Jaws should be massaged in small circles using the fingertips.
- Ears should be massaged between your thumb and index finger.
- These steps should be exercised a few times.
And lastly, end with the back.
- Place your baby over tummy on your outstretched legs or in front of you, with her hands in front of her, not on the sides.
- With one hand, hold baby’s buttocks and with the other hand, stroke down from base of the neck to the buttocks.
- You should move baby’s hands back and forth from the base of neck to the hips. They should be moved in opposite directions.
- Do not press directly over the baby’s spine, instead move down your finger tips in circle form over the spine and up the other. Repeating them several times helps relieve the tension in the back.
- Shoulders should be massaged in small circular motions and over the buttocks with big circular motions.
- Stroke down baby’s back while holding your fingers like a rake.
Points to Remember While Massaging Baby:
Though massages do pack in a number of health benefits, there are certain times where you should avoid while massaging a baby.
- Never massage your baby before or after meals or when baby needs sleep.
- Strokes for massaging should be gentle, but firm. Light strokes will cause tickling and hard strokes can be dangerous for the baby.
- If the baby appears cranky and cries during massage, you must stop the massage and try again the next day.
- You must maintain a daily routine for baby massaging.
- Keep talking to your baby during massage. Speak softly, laugh with her and let her know what you are doing.
While keeping the above points in mind, massage your baby in gentle strokes. Stroking, touching and caressing your baby helps promote growth hormones in a baby as it helps stimulate the central nervous system. Happy baby massaging!!
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