For parents, baby massage is an important daily habit to start with your little bundle of joy. It is a calm, nurturing way to bond with your new baby, and has several benefits for your baby, including promoting muscle development.
New to massaging your baby? Read on for our helpful tips!
#1: Prepare for your massage session
Before you get started, make sure you have everything you need at hand. Use a lotion or massage oil that is non-toxic, and safe for babies. Have a towel or blanket for your baby to lie on, and an extra diaper and clothes for afterward.
The room should be nice and warm, with dim lighting. Play relaxing music at a low volume, or speak/sing softly to your baby during the massage. Also make sure your baby hasn’t just eaten, because this will make tummy massages uncomfortable!
#2: Use the right techniques for their age
Babies will need different massage techniques depending on their age. Johnson’s website has a few guides for newborns, babies 6 weeks and older, and 6 months and older. As a rule of thumb, massages for newborns should be gentle and smooth, but as your baby gets older, you can try deeper massages and light stretching if they enjoy it.
For baby massages at any age, start at the feet, where most babies like to be massaged. Then move up to the legs, arms, and head, using gentle strokes away from the heart. Once your baby is calm, move on to lightly rubbing their tummy and chest. These are sensitive areas, so be gentle and careful. To end the massage, put your baby on their tummy and lightly stroke their back. By now, you and your baby should be in a state of total bliss!
#3: Follow cues from your baby
When giving your baby a massage, pay close attention to what your baby likes and dislikes. Listen and watch carefully to your baby’s face and body, and how it reacts to different kinds of touch. Your baby will tell you if it’s happy, or otherwise!
During baby massages, babies may get fussy if they are uncomfortable, get too cold, or are ticklish. If that happens, stop what you are doing and try something else. If your baby is still fussy, they are probably done for the day.
#4: Find your own zen
Before you begin your routine, take a few deep breaths to relax and get in the right mood. Avoid doing a baby massage session when you feel rushed, stressed, or upset. Your baby will pick up on your stress, and is more likely to become fussy or upset as a result.
Finally, take your time with the baby massage, which is meant to be a calm, soothing process for both baby and adult to enjoy. It won’t be long before your baby morphs into a toddler who’s actively walking, talking, and getting in all sorts of trouble – so cherish your time with your newborn baby!