The journey of parenthood is one of the most challenging yet rewarding ones. Every parent wants to give their best to their child and massaging your baby is a crucial aspect of the same. This tradition has been passed on from one generation to the other for centuries, and why shouldn’t it be? Before communicating verbally, parents communicate with their child through touch and massaging your baby with smooth and gentle strokes is just an extension of the same. Besides, it comes with a host of health benefits for the baby.
Tips for massaging your baby
Here are some massage tips that you can follow which will benefit your baby –
1. Choose a suitable oil.
With so many options available in the market, choosing the right oil becomes a tough nut to crack. Here are some oils along with their properties to help you arrive at a better decision–
It is a nourishing oil which retains the softness of your baby’s skin. It also has antibacterial and antioxidant properties.
Ratanjyot is a time-tested Ayurvedic oil. It comes in a crimson red shade and serves to soothe and protect the skin.
This oil gives a radiant glow which will attract all eyeballs as you take your new-born for an outing.
If your baby is suffering from body ache, you should go for this oil. It improves blood circulation and has pain-relieving properties.
It is a nutrient-rich oil which keeps the bones of your baby strong and healthy.
No matter which oil you choose, first use a bit of it on a small patch of your baby’s skin to make sure that it is not causing any allergies or discomfort.
2. Keep an eye on your baby.
If you want the massage to be a fun-filled experience, you need to keep an eye on the cues of your baby. If it is irritable and isn’t enjoying it or if touching a specific body part isn’t comfortable for it, skip it and move on to another part of the body.
3. Massaging Techniques
Upper body massage
Take some oil on your palms. Rubbing them together will heat them, and your touch will be more relaxing for the baby. Gently massage the chest, stomach, back and both the hands of your baby in a circular motion. Repeat the process twice or thrice.
Lower body massage
Drop some oil on your palms and rub them together. Next, massage your baby from the waist downwards. Massage the thighs, ankles and feet of your baby in rhythmic strokes. Repeat the process twice or thrice.
4. Interact with your baby
While massaging the baby, sing softly or hum its favourite tune. You can talk to it calmly. It will make the baby look forward to these sessions and also boost your bond. Massaging is also a fantastic activity for fathers to bond with their children.
5. Fall into a routine
Babies love following a routine as it makes them feel secure. They can keep a tab on what is going to happen next, and that makes them look forward to the activities. Fix a time when the baby is not hungry or sleepy and schedule the massage at that particular time every day to keep your baby happy.
6. Identify the right place.
The first thing that you should ensure before starting the massage is the right place. The vibe should be cosy, and there should be no distractions like mobile phones and pets. Play relaxing music in the background and place your baby on a towel for a better experience.
Benefits of massaging a baby
1. Healthier muscles and bones
Regular massage sessions can be great for your baby’s healthy growth. Though massaging is useful for all, premature babies benefit from it more. There have been studies reflecting that such babies have gained weight and formed healthy bones thanks to good massaging practice.
2. Takes care of your baby’s delicate skin
Regular massage keeps the sensitive skin of your new-born soft and supple. Thus, it is an essential practice to protect your baby from rashes and other skin conditions.
3. Ensures good blood circulation
The gentle massaging strokes aren’t just soothing but also generate heat and thus aid in better blood circulation to all parts of the body.
4. Keeps digestive issues at bay
Massaging stimulates the vagus nerve which connects the brain to the stomach and other crucial parts of the body. Digestive issues like gas and constipation can put a lot of stress on your child. Massaging improves digestion and bowel movements. Consequently, you will observe weight gain in your new-born, and it will look more cheerful than ever before.
5. Boosts sleep quality
A good massage can even put adults to sleep. Can you imagine the blissful effects it would have on a new-born? Your baby will sleep soundly and wake up fuss-free after a nice long massage.
6. Improves brain development
The gentle touch during a massage can immensely boost the cognitive skills of the baby, making it alert and attentive.
When should you start massaging your baby?
The experts suggest that parents should introduce touch as soon as the baby is born. Many parents love doing so through kangaroo care (placing their new-born on their chest for bare skin-to-skin contact). You can gently stroke the legs and back of your baby during this.
You can start massaging your baby after the first few weeks of birth. However, be careful of the cues and only go for a massage when the new-born is calm and content. Never proceed with a massage technique if your child isn’t comfortable with it.
Wait for at least 45 minutes after feeding to start massaging your baby. Otherwise, it can cause vomiting. You should also not massage your baby when it has turned its head away of stiffened its arms.
The Bottom Line
Though massaging is a great experience which immensely enhances the bond between the parents and the baby, it doesn’t come naturally to all the parents. If it takes you some time to get used to it, don’t lose hope. With each successive session, you will develop a more loving relationship with your baby. Your baby will thank you for the effort.
If you have any queries regarding massaging your baby, reach out!