Touch is the first sense to form in the womb, and relaxing and bonding with your baby, especially in the first few months of life and beyond, is important for both parent and baby. Baby massage can help you to soothe your infant in addition to helping you become more attuned to their needs.
Benefits of Newborn Baby Massage
Baby massage has a variety of benefits for you, and for your baby. Studies have shown that baby massage reduces fussiness; helps to relax your baby; and can relieve constipation and colic.
Other benefits of baby massage include: relieving teething pain; stimulating the central nervous, digestive and immune systems; and improving coordination and balance, as well as helping your baby sleep better. Studies also suggest that the massage with moderate pressure can actually promote growth and aid in the development of premature babies.
Baby Massage for Gas
When babies get gassy, that can often mean no sleep for mom and for baby. If they have gas and they’re uncomfortable, chances are they will cry, and the crying only will produce more gas — it’s a vicious circle. A good baby massage for gas technique is to put the baby on its belly and lift up her stomach and gently massage. These motions should help to break up the gas bubbles so they can make its way out of the body.
Another good technique is the “I Love You.” Press your index and middle fingers together and drag them down the left side of the belly, like an “I.” Then drag your fingers across the belly from the left to right side, and down, like an “L.” Finish it off with a “U,” stroking up the right side of the belly, around the belly button and down to the other side.
Baby Massage for Colic
Baby massage for colic is similar to massaging to relieve gas, and there are a few ways to help your baby. You can massage your baby with your fingertips in clockwise circles near their belly button. Another good technique would be to place the baby on its back, bend the legs at the knee and gently push the knees into the belly, and then straighten out the legs and repeat 3-5 times. Note: If nothing seems to be helping, please contact your baby’s doctor.
Getting Older: Child Massage
As your child gets older, massage is still a healthy thing. Oftentimes stress is seen as just a problem for adults, when in reality children deal with stresses too. Child massage is shown to work similarly to baby massage in reducing stress and stress hormone levels. Massage can relax and calm children, and relieve anxiety. With infants, body massage is usually all that is needed, but with children, massage might extend to the hands and feet and incorporate different strokes.
Using a Doula
According to Merriam Webster, a doula is “a woman experienced in childbirth who provides advice, information, emotional support, and physical comfort to a mother before, during, and just after childbirth.” Postpartum doulas are important to help parents and babies, and the whole family, settle into the first few days after bringing home a new baby. They can help parents feel more confident with all that goes with caring for a newborn and provide breastfeeding and emotional support.
Baby Massage Steps
There are many different ways to massage your baby, but here are some of the most common techniques. Be sure to use soothing lotion or oils to help protect your baby’s skin.
- Leg: Wrap your hands around your baby’s leg and gently glide your hands up and down the leg a few times, then repeat on the other leg.
- Belly: Rub your fingertips firmly but gently over your baby’s stomach in a circular motion.
- Arm: Similar to the leg, wrap your hands around one arm, starting at the shoulder and gently work your way down a few times before switching to the other arm.
- Ear: Gently rub your baby’s ear between your thumb and index finger.
- Face: Start between your baby’s eyebrows and stroke outward with your thumbs
Baby Massage Lotion
Try out our Baby Calming Lotion instead of oil for your baby massage. It includes relaxing ingredients like lavender, chamomile and meadowsweet oil to soothe and moisturize delicate skin. It also includes our Nutri-Soothe ™ Complex that is rich in vitamins and antioxidants.