The Right Strokes - Choosing the Best Massage Oil for your Baby

Submitted by Jerry Parker on December 14, 2012
Massages for babies have long since been used to strengthen muscles, calm and soothe a cranky baby or to induce sleep. Massages are made better with some type of oil as this helps hands glide easily over the skin.



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The right oil also lessens friction and discomfort for your baby. However, if you use poor quality massage oil or the wrong type, you could end up with a sticky, uncomfortable baby and a massage that irritates rather than soothes.

When it comes to choosing the right massage oil for your baby, make sure that the oil is as pure as possible.

Look for cold-pressed oils and those free from pesticides. Remember, the lighter the oil, the easier it is to wipe and wash off your baby’s skin and not leave a thick residue. Some mothers prefer vegetable oils while others use branded baby oils for the massage. Vegetable oils contain high amounts of linoleic acid that can help protect a baby’s delicate skin and act as a barrier. Safflower oil and grapeseed oil are the best vegetable oils for baby massages. The choice is ultimately up to you. However, you need to be aware of certain things before you actually choose the massage oil. For example, some babies may be allergic to things such as gluten or nuts. To avoid any unpleasant side effects, avoid oils such as peanut oil or wheat germ oil that may cause an allergic reaction. Strongly perfumed oils should also be avoided as these can harm a baby’s sensitive skin. It is best to do a skin test on your baby before a complete massage. Use a tiny amount of oil and apply it to a small area of skin (preferably on the leg or arm). Leave the oil on the skin for 24 hours. If there is no skin irritation or rash, the oil is safe to use on the entire body.

What is the best massage oil in the summer?

Experts agree that one of the best massage oils for hot summer months is coconut oil for its cooling properties. Another popular alternative is sesame oil. Almond oil and olive oil are excellent as also expensive choices for any season – hot or cold.

What is the best massage oil in the winter?

During the cold winter months, warming up the massage oil before use can be extra soothing. In countries like India, mustard oil is used in winter. If you cannot bear the strong smell of mustard oil, another option is olive oil or even almond oil.

What is the best massage oil for sensitive skin?

In case the skin is extra sensitive, make sure that you avoid the use of vegetable oils that are rich in oleic acid. This is majorly responsible to make your baby’s skin more vulnerable to rashes and irritation. Vegetable oils which are high on oleic acid include olive oil and high-oleic sunflower seed oil. Check the ingredient label on the oil before you buy. Oils that contain higher levels of oleic acid are known to be rich also in monounsaturated fats as compared to polyunsaturated fats. Perfumed or heavy oils should also be avoided if your baby has broken skin or suffers from eczema.

Should you massage with fresh cream or gram flour and turmeric?

The age-old practice of massaging your baby with fresh cream, gram flour or turmeric should be avoided. According to experts, raw milk can cause skin infections while gram flour can clog pores and lead to rashes. Though turmeric has long since been lauded for its anti-bacterial and healing powers, using this potent spice on a baby’s delicate skin may not be the best idea.

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