Choose a moment in which you and your child are relaxed and calm. A half hour after the baby has eaten or after a bath time is recommended. Be sure that the room temperature is warm (78 degrees Fahrenheit or 25 degrees Celsius). Undress the baby completely and if the weather is cold or humid cover the areas of the baby’s body that are not being massaged. Put the baby on a soft surface so your baby will feel comfortable and secure. Keep some little pillows handy. It is a good idea to use cream or mineral oil on your hands and rub them together so they will be soft and warm. The massage should flow and cover all areas from the head to the toes. With soft and gentle touches you will work on the head, face, shoulders, arms, chest, back, stomach, legs and feet. While you massage your baby look tenderly at him/her. Feel free to speak to your baby, do not inhibit yourself. By doing this, you stimulate all the senses of the baby and establish a more intense visual and tactile communication. Remember that your touches should be tender do not make mechanic motions. Try to be flexible by not keeping a rigid routine. If the baby wants to change position let them do so. Do not force your baby to keep a position; you can go back to these areas later on.
Pressure to use:
Close your eyes and press your eyelids. The pressure you should use is the same as pressing your eyelids without any discomfort. In the small areas use your fingertips. In bigger areas use the palm of your hand. “Little strokes” mean to touch your baby’s skin gently and “massage” is to softly move the muscles under the skin.
Head & Face:
Touch the forehead, temples and the base of the cranium. Don’t forget to rub: eyebrows and eyelids, nose, cheeks, the area around the mouth, ears and surrounding area.
Gently massage the chest tracing circles, half-circles and heart shapes with your fingers.
Massage the stomach in a circular way. Caress the abdomen moving your hands clockwise beginning below the ribs.
Caress each leg with your whole hand, press gently on the thighs. Slightly flex the legs and knees pressing the thighs gently against the body.
Heels and Feet:
A foot massage is very relaxing. Begin by putting a soft pressure on each toe, then the foot and return to the toes again. Sometimes a foot massage can help reduce stomach pain. Caress gently all the toes. Apply circular movements at the heels.
Turn your baby around. Begin with large and slow movements that include head, neck, back and legs always in one direction.
Give your baby soft strokes on the shoulders and back and massaging with your fingertips with circular movements. Do not massage the spinal cord, only put your hands over it and let the baby feel the warm sensation. You can even make small circular movements on your baby’s back.
Shoulders and Arms:
Form a ring with your fingers and thumb around your child’s arm. Begin to caress around the armpit and then go down along the arm. Be very careful when you arrive at the elbow, it is a very sensitive region. In the wrist you can gently practice turning motions using. Remember to take great care with all these motions.
Massage Benefits for Parents:
- Improves communication with Baby
- Involves fathers in an intimate way
- Promotes Parent-Child bonding
- Increases parent confidence
- Decreases post-partum depression and nervousness
- Helps parents with babies in daycare
- Encourages a special, focused time for bonding and interaction
- Increases the parent’s ability to calm a stressful or sick child
- Working moms can re-connect with the baby through massage after a long day at work.
Massage Benefits for Baby:
- Enhances communication and nurtures the parent-child bond
- Reduces gas and constipation
- Reduces fussiness and irritability
- Soothes baby’s nervous system
- Reduces colic
- Reduces pain associated with teething
- Helps baby sleep longer
- Deters separation anxiety
- Improves baby’s motor skills
- Promotes faster weight gain
- Stimulates the brain and contributes to mental growth
Re-Published with permission from
OhBaby Magazine – www.ohbabymagazine.com