All You Need To Know About Your Baby's Massage

Gunjan Lal
September 13, 2016
Views : 3176
All You Need To Know About Your Baby's Massage

Massaging you baby is a wonderful way for you to express the love and care you have for your baby. Massage can immediately soothe your little baby and help her or him to sleep peacefully.

Massage has various added perks for your baby than just expressing the boundless love that you hold in your heart for your child. Massage's benefits for your little one include weight gain, aid in digestion, improving blood circulation, and easing teething pain. Massage is also an amazing way for you as well as for your partner to bond with your newborn, and you too may find it relaxing!

Baby massage is supposed to be light handed and gentle, sort of a rhythmic stroking of your baby's body with your hands. You can use either oils or a moisturizer to assist your hands to glide smoothly over your baby's skin. While massaging your baby, you can gently manipulate your baby's wrists, ankles, and fingers. You can also talk softly to her, hum or sing to your baby during your massage routine this may make it more reassuring and relaxing for your baby.

The calm and soothing strokes of your hands stimulate the production of a hormone oxytocin in you, your baby. This hormone is also known as the 'feel good' hormone.

What are the benefits of baby massage?

What are the benefits of baby massage?

There are many ways in which baby massages can benefit not just your newborn, but you and your partner as well.

Here's a list of benefits of massaging your baby

  • Massage helps your baby to develop mentally, socially and physically
  • It assists in keeping your little one relaxed and not get upset
  • Your baby cries less and fusses less
  • Massage can help your baby sleep better
  • You may discover that giving your baby a massage also lifts your mood and makes you feel more empowered as a parent. Whatever time you set aside for massaging your baby would be your special time together. During your massage routine you will notice that it comes naturally to chat to her (or him) and have plenty of eye contact with her, so don't forget to smile!
  • Baby massage can be great for dads too! Some fathers may miss out on much of the hands-on care of their little ones, especially if they have exhaustive work timings. A regular massage of the baby with the dad can become a part of the routine, perhaps at bedtime if the dads don't have much time in the mornings. Babies are great stress busters and massaging your baby might help you get rid of your entire day's stress.
  • Massage can be extremely good for premature babies

Here's how massaging can be helpful for premature babies

  • It can improve your baby's weight, particularly if you use oils for massaging. Massage stimulates a key nerve, known as the vagus nerve; it connects the brain with the main parts of the body, including the stomach. Massaging can stimulate this nerve and help in improving digestion and bowel movement of your infant, helping her/him to gain weight.
  • Massaging provides a more stable heart rate for you baby. Massage helps to stimulate those parts of the nervous system that regulate the organs. So massages can help in keeping your premature baby's heart at a steady rate.
  • Massages can promote stable brain activity. Premature babies who are massaged regularly tend to have brain activities that develop at a normal level. If not massaged regularly, premature babies have shown a decrease in the development of brain activity.

Is there a downside for baby massages?

Is there a downside for baby massages?

There are a couple of things that you need to know before starting your baby's massage. Getting baby massages done with the help of a midwife (or a dai) of newborns is a tradition which has been continued since time immemorial.

Some pediatric doctors do not see any health benefits of the massaging practice at all. Massaging is primarily practiced on babies because it is thought that massaging strengthens the baby's bones. But some doctors believe that there is no scientific meaning or proof to it.

Moreover, when most parents hand over their infants to a midwife to get the massage done what they don't pay heed to is whether or not she is trained properly. Because most midwives are trained either by their grandmothers or their mothers, and the most terrible mistake certain midwives make is that they pour some oil into your infant's nose, naval and ears, which can be terribly harmful. It is not hygienic and can cause your baby fungal infections.

So, if you decide to hire a midwife to massage your baby then be keep in mind these pointers - she must be trained, she must not pour oil in your infant's ears or nose and finally, she must massage gently with soft hands, you baby's skin is very fragile, swift and rough massage is not what she (or he) needs.

Some doctors advise against putting kajal on newborn's eyes because it contains carbon. But putting kajal on babies eyes too is an ancient Indian practice with beliefs rooted in either a fact or illusion that it might aid in better eyesight of the babies. Some doctors even believe that parents should avoid massaging babies till at least they're three months old.

Some suggest that in fact, parents should be more concerned about the food that is provided to a newborn baby because it is the food that will help in the development of the baby's bones rather than the massage. Additionally, they suggest that even exposing your baby to early morning sunlight could be very helpful as sun's rays provide Vitamin D which is highly beneficial for the development of your baby's bones.

It is also suggested that the parents themselves or the mother herself should massage the baby. The oil should be applied gently on the dry skin of your baby. Do not prefer to hire a midwife for the purpose of massaging your baby, who does it with forced rough movements. It can harm the bones and skin of your baby if not done in a gentle way. The love, affection, and touch of a mother when she gives a gentle and soothing massage to her baby help them both to bond exceptionally well and even plays an important part in the growth and development of the baby.

Baby Massage Oils That Are Good For Summers

Baby Massage Oils That Are Good For Summers

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is considered one of the best choices during hot summers and humid climate. It is lighter in texture and is easily absorbed into the skin of your young one and offers a cooling effect on the body. This oil is an effective treatment for babies with sensitive skin and problems such as eczema, rashes, dermatitis, patchy skin, and cradle cap.

Apply a tiny amount of coconut oil after a bath to moisturize your baby's skin and keeping it supple. Coconut oil contains antioxidants, caprylic and lauric acids, which are great for babies' skin. It also has antifungal and antibacterial properties which make it an ideal choice for your baby's skin.

Try to look for a coconut oil which is paraben free, chemical free and also is biodegradable massage oil. The calming fragrance of coconut relaxes the baby.

Sesame Oil

Sesame oil (or til as known popularly in India), is one of the healthy ingredients in a baby's massage oil. Try to go for the oil that has been extracted from black sesame seeds. Sesame oil is also known as a popular Ayurvedic massage oil for babies.

Baby Massage Oils That Are Good For Winters

Mustard Oil

Mustard oil is undoubtedly the best baby massage oil during winters thanks to its warming effect on the skin. Though, it is not advisable to apply the oil directly on your baby's skin. It should always be applied in combination with other bases.

In eastern and northern India, Mustard oil is usually heated with fenugreek seeds and garlic cloves. Garlic is known for boosting your little one's immune system, and fenugreek seeds relax your baby's body. Another effective massage remedy for babies is mixing mustard oil with carom seeds or ajwain. This combination helps to soothe colicky babies.

It's understandable if you would not prefer using mustard oil because of its pungent smell, you can use any of the oils listed below instead.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is also widely popular as a massage oil for babies. You can find many brands of massage oils which use olive oil as their main ingredient. It is pretty safe to use olive oil on your baby's skin if there are no visible signs of rashes, eczema, cuts, or other allergies.

For sensitive skin, it would be best to avoid olive oil because it has properties which enhance the permeability of the skin. This allows the moisture to leave the skin faster, furthering causing dryness and flakiness or enhancing skin problems.

Almond Oil

Almond oil is quite common and is used as an ingredient in various massage oils. It is packed with Vitamin E. Try to use pure almond oil rather than the fragrant ones.

Which Massage Oils Are Good For Your Baby's Sensitive Skin?

If your baby has a sensitive skin and is prone to dryness or eczema, do not use vegetable oils such as high-oleic sunflower seed oil or olive oil. Oils which contain oleic acid make your little baby's skin all the more tender and dry.

Vegetable Oils which contain linoleic acids are better suitable for sensitive skin. But, it could be difficult to find whether the massage oil you're using contains oleic or linoleic acids. So, it is better to check with the health care provider to get suitable massage oil for your baby.

Vegetable oils which contain high amounts of linoleic acids and are good for sensitive skin include

Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is usually used as an edible oil and is quite safe to be used on your baby's skin. Sunflower oil contains fatty acids and Vitamin E which assist in nourishing the skin. If your baby has rash-prone or extra sensitive skin then you should avoid using this oil.

Chamomile Oil

Chamomile oil too is recommended for newborns as it is beneficial for sensitive skin. This oil comes in handy for treating rashes and other skin breakouts. Chamomile oil is especially good for the babies who suffer from colic as it helps to put them to sleep.

Calendula Oil

Calendula oil is an essential oil which you can add to your baby's massage. This oil can be used after your baby's bath as it has a soothing effect on the skin. It also has a naturally mild fragrance. Another essential oil that you can add to your baby's massage is tea tree oil.

Some Tips To Keep In Mind While Massaging Your Baby

You might have multiple thoughts on your mind about how to offer the best massage for your little baby. Here are some helpful tips you can follow when you are all set to massage your baby

  • Before trying out any oil on your baby's skin, just dab some drops on her hand to check if it is compatible with her skin. Wait to see if your baby's skin develops any kind of rash if she does then avoid using that oil. However, nearly all baby oils are compatible with their skin.
  • Pour some oil on your little baby's tummy and start massaging with gentle and soft strokes. But keep in mind that you do not put any unnecessary extra pressure.
  • Give you baby a massage only when she is up for it. Always remember that her comfort level is more important.
  • Keep a check on your little one's sleep cycle and then decide the time to give a massage accordingly.
  • You most probably would start your baby's massage once she is ten to fifteen days old. Try using oils in their purest forms if possible. At the same time, consult your doctor as to which oil suits the needs of your baby's skin.
Gunjan Lal

Gunjan Lal

Hi! I’m Gunjan, a self-proclaimed tea fanatic and intrigued with alternative ways to lead a healthy life. I firmly believe that we should take care of our bodies because it’s the only place we live in.

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