The How and Why of Baby Massage

Submitted by JoyLife Therapeutics on August 17, 2012

Baby massage has been practiced since ancient times and is popular the world over. Massaging your baby daily is a great way to start bonding with him or her. Studies seem to suggest that massage may help to promote sleep, reduce the incidence of colic and maybe even enhance the baby’s motor skills and intellectual development.


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Learning how to massage your baby is easy. Here is one way to do it.

  • Start only when your baby is alert, not when it is sleepy, has just been fed or is ill.

  • Remove all rings and jewelry from your hands and make sure your nails are clipped to avoid injuring your baby’s delicate skin.
  • Use a blanket or towel to lay the baby on.
  • Keep the massage oil handy in a non-breakable container.
  • Test the oil on a small part of your baby’s skin, waiting awhile to see that there is no allergic reaction.
  • Spread a blanket or towel on a flat surface.
  • Undress your baby and place him or her face up on the blanket or towel.
  • Rub about half a teaspoon of massage oil on your palms, just enough so that your hands can glide gently over your baby’s body.
  • Use smooth and gentle strokes. Make light circular movements on the chest and stomach. Stroke across the shoulders and apply firm downward movements on the limbs. Use upward strokes on the back.
  • Do not apply excessive pressure especially near the spine.
  • Talk or sing to your baby as you proceed with the massage and maintain eye contact for as long as possible.
  • Do not apply oil on the baby’s hands and fingers.
  • After the massage, wrap your baby in a warm towel and hold and cuddle him or her.
  • Avoid areas with rashes or injuries such as vaccination sites.

You may choose to add an essential oil to the massage oil, but remember, the oil needs to be diluted about thrice as much as that used for an adult. Here are some tips on using essential oils for your baby’s massage.

  • Consult your health care provider about the use of aromatherapy oils for your baby.
  • Do not use essential oils before your baby is three months old.
  • For infants, it is best to use only lavender oil or chamomile oil. Other oils may be used when your baby is a bit older.
  • Use only therapeutic grade essential oils.
  • For babies under the age of 2 years, 1% dilution or less is recommended. This is the equivalent of 5 drops of essential oil mixed in 30 ml of carrier oil.
  • Do not give oils internally.
  • Avoid massaging near the eyes, mouth, fingers or hands.

You could choose from a variety of essential oils to be used for your baby. Be very careful when massaging the baby. In case you feel incompetent to give a proper massage, it is advisable to have a professional do the same.

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