The benefits of massage
Soothing and calming, massage can provide your baby with a sense of well-being. In the womb, feeling your baby connects her to the outside world. She can feel every caress of your stomach. After birth, massage is a way of letting your baby experience these sensations again and making her aware that she is not just an extension of you but has a body of her own. Skin-to-skin contact relieves your baby from tension and helps her relax.
Touch also tones her body and helps boost vitality. It can help with digestion and act as relief from other problems such as constipation, blocked nose and eczema. Massage can also induce peaceful sleep and create a safe and secure environment for your baby. This is a tender moment to share, a magical exchange between you and your baby.
Massaging your baby
Before massaging your baby, check with your doctor first; and make sure that you are relaxed too. Your baby will sense if you’re stressed and will not enjoy being touched. It is best to massage your baby in the evening just before bath time, to help her release the day’s tensions. Cover your hands with baby oil or moisturising cream and then start the massage.
For your first time, don’t worry too much about massaging her whole body. If your baby is unfamiliar with massage, she may be a little surprised or anxious. Your contact should be firmer than a caress and the pressure you exert should be stimulating. Reassure your baby by talking or singing to her and always keep one hand on her. Watch your baby carefully, look into her eyes and listen to her babbling as your baby communicates with you.
Easy and gentle massages
Lay your hand flat against your baby’s stomach. Then, gently make large clockwise circles. Try not to press down, use just the weight of your hand. If your baby suffers from colic, massage her stomach from top to bottom, alternating your hand in a sweeping motion. Finish the massage by laying the palm of your hand flat against her stomach. Massaging the stomach can also relieve any minor digestion problems (constipation and colic).
Start the massage with soothing motions. Move up the inside of her legs and move down on the outside. Repeat this action several times, and then make circular motions around her legs, down to the bottom of her feet. Massaging your baby’s legs will help her feel relaxed as they are often tucked up or moving about.
Glide your hands all the way to under your baby’s armpits and move them down her sides. Then, move your hands back to her chest and start again. If your baby opens her arms, continue your movement down to the tips of her fingers. This massage opens the chest and helps respiration.
Massage her toes one by one, including the space between them. Using your thumbs, stroke the bottom of her feet several times, then massage from the heels to the base of her toes. This will help relax your baby and create a sense of well-being.