If you are a new mom, you will find yourself scrolling through baby care articles on the internet to find the best possible way to take care of your little one. ‘How to massage a newborn baby?’ is one question that pops up in the minds of many such moms. In this blog, we will give you an overview on the benefits of massage to your baby and how to do it.
How to massage a baby?
While starting the massage, place a blanket or towel, and baby massage oil (Sebamed has some great massage oils available keeping your baby’s skin in mind) in a container well within your reach. It is advisable to start the massage when your baby is quiet yet alert and not immediately after feeding or when he/she is sleepy. Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet touch each other, forming a diamond shape with your legs before draping the blanket over your feet and between your knees. Undress your baby and place him/her on the blanket while ensuring that the baby is in a comfortable position. Start to massage your baby with a gentle stroke starting his/her head to toes. If he/she stiffens, becomes irritable or cries, quickly move to another body part or end the massage and simply try some other time. However, if he/she responds well, start to massage your baby gently, section by section. Here’s how to massage your baby section by section:
Hold your hand in a way wherein the pinky finger’s edge can move across your baby’s belly like a paddle. Massage your baby from the base of the rib cage by stroking down with one hand before the other, in a paddle-wheel motion. Hold your knees and feet together before gently pressing your knees up towards his/her abdomen. Rotate the baby’s hips around a few times to the right. This often helps to expel gas and keep the baby healthy.
Head and face
Cradling the baby’s head in both hands, gently massage the scalp with your fingertips followed by a massage to his/her ears. With the use of your fingertips, gently massage the baby’s face while ensuring he/she is comfortable with the strokes. There are many benefits of a head and face massage to a baby like, better sleep, improved blood circulation, hair growth, etc.
Chest and back
Place both hands on the baby’s chest and massage him/her with gentle strokes from the sternum to shoulders. As chest is quite sensitive to external force, ever wondered how to massage a baby on his/her back? Carefully lie the baby on his/her stomach horizontally in front of you while placing the baby’s hands in front. Massage the baby with gentle strokes down from his/her neck to buttocks.
Arms and legs
While the arms and legs are less sensitive in comparison to the other sections, it is still important to know how to massage a newborn baby’s arms and legs. Make gentle yet firm strokes while massaging the arms and legs of the baby ensuring it is not ticklish. You can use your whole hand to stroke the arms and legs of the baby during the massage.
Many new moms might already know how to massage a baby. However, it is quite important to know the right way to massage your baby so that it does not affect his/her mood and enjoy the massage to the fullest.
Benefits of baby massage
Touch is the first language we use to show love and affection towards our little ones. An infant baby massage will do wonders, while also creating a strong bond between you and your baby. Your little ones crave for smoothing body rub every now and then as it is very relaxing and therapeutic. However, these massages benefit infants more than parents might think.
Massage helps in improving the baby’s mood
A gentle massage will nourish your baby’s skin and help improve blood circulation which in turn helps in a happy and healthy development of your baby. Your loving gentle touch is one of the primary experiences for baby’s happy development. There are several benefits of massage to a baby such as, reduced gas in colicky infants, improved muscle tone and range, brain development, Improved focus and eye contact, healthier immune system, improved mood, better sleep, and more! Many research show that a routine touch or massage from their parents are vital for a baby’s growth, communication and learning. These massage benefits go a long way in shaping the baby’s growth in the long-term.
Also Read: 5 Benefits of using a Baby Lotion
How often should we massage a newborn baby?
You should aim for an infant baby massage daily, but if that is possible, try for a massage at least three times a week. There are many positive effects on your little one’s mental health apart from the physical benefits of massage to your baby.
Which oil/lotion is good for a baby massage?
There are several baby massage oils that could be easily found in the market such as, coconut oil, almond oil, baby oil, safflower oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, oat oil, borage seed oil, rose hip oil, and more. There are many oils available online that would be best suitable for a baby massage. Sebamed Baby Soothing Massage Oil is one such option that many new moms often choose while looking for a suitable option.
You could even choose a baby massage lotion according to your preference. Some of the best lotions for a baby massage are, petroleum jelly, shea butter, chamomile lotion, eczema cream, etc. Sebamed offers some really good lotions online such as Sebamed Baby Cream extra soft or Sebamed Baby Body-Milk.
However, it is advisable to check whether your baby is allergic or has skin reactions to the baby massage lotion/oil by applying a small portion on his/her hand first.
Hope this blog answers your questions on how to massage a newborn baby and its benefits. In case, you have any further doubts/queries, you could get in touch with your doctor or other health professionals.