The healing touch

Is your baby crying, tired, sick or teething? Baby massage could be the secret weapon you've been searching for!

Ever find yourself absent-mindedly stroking the back of your baby's neck and marvelling at its softness? You have a powerful instinct to caress your baby, and not without reason touch is vital to his wellbeing, and that's why baby massage is so good for him.

"Massage has the same benefits for babies as for anyone else," says Sally Cranfield, baby massage teacher.

"It induces very deep relaxation and causes the body to release the hormone oxytocin, which has a calming effect. This can help your baby get to sleep, and also to sleep more deeply, so he won't wake so often."

 

"I started baby massage hoping to learn to calm and comfort Charlie, who was very colicky. We both enjoyed it and I was delighted that it helped with Charlie's wind and her constipation problems, too."

Massage also boosts your baby's immune system and can be used to deal with specific problems, such as colic. 

"The tradition of baby massage is strong in other cultures, but was lost to ours as baby care became more medicalised," says Sally. 

"Now we're rediscovering this lovely way of exploring the bond between parent and baby." It's a great way for you to get close to your little one and spend quality time together, and will strengthen the special bond between you.

RELATED article: Baby massage tips

Tips and techniques

Ideally your baby should be fed, winded and comfortable, and the room should be nice and warm before you undress him for a massage. Have a nappy and a towel handy in case of little accidents, and lay him on a changing mat or a thick, folded towel.

Wind and colic

Massaging your baby's tummy clockwise, in a circular movement centred on his belly button, can ease digestion. Don't press down.

RELATED article: How to relieve colic

Sleep

With your baby lying on his back, you can stroke his head, chest and tummy to calm him andhelp him settle to sleep.

Teething

Squeezing and stroking your baby's hands or feet is a good way to soothe the irritability that teething can cause and you can do it anywhere.

RELATED article: Teething tips

The good oil

Grape seed, sweet almond and olive oil are all suitable you'll find them in health food shops or you can just use plain baby oil. 

If you like, and provided your baby is over two-months-old, you can add one of the following aromatherapy oils to your base oil, using three drops of essential oil to two tablespoons of base oil. 

* Lavender: Soothing, antiseptic and a decongestant

* Eucalyptus: A powerful decongestant, good when your baby has a cold

* Camomile: Calming and soothing, can be helpful in teething.

* Rose otto: Good for dry skin

Where can you do it?

The beauty of baby massage is that it's easy to do at home, but if you want to learn more techniques and meet other like-minded mums a baby massage class is a good place to start. Adult education centres run regular courses ask your GP or at your early childhood centre for local classes. 

Hands off!

Massage is suitable for almost all babies, but don't massage him if:

* He's overtired, unwell or has a fever
* He's just been fed it might make him sick
* He has any cuts, bruises or skin complaints, like eczema
* He cries or seems upset by it
* He's had immunisations in the last 48 hours
* He's had surgery or has any broken bones.

It worked for us

"I started baby massage hoping to learn to calm and comfort Charlie, who was very colicky. We both enjoyed it and I was delighted that it helped with Charlie's wind and her constipation problems, too. 

"It soon became a part of his bedtime routine. I'm about to start massage classes with my second baby, and I'm looking forward to some quiet bonding time with her as she seems to get less quality time with me than my first child did."

Deborah Helliar, mum to Charlie, three, and Annelise, 10 weeks

RELATED article: Bonding with baby

Did baby massage help with your bub. Tell us how it worked for you?

12:0AM, Jan 5th 2015

comments powered by Disqus

Related articles

 
 
instagram
  • These speech bubble tees take matching sibling t-shirts to a whole new level!! LOVE 😍😍😍 via @ourlittlephotodiary @vanpauline

    mother and baby These speech bubble tees take matching sibling t-shirts to a whole new level!! LOVE 😍😍😍 via @ourlittlephotodiary @vanpauline

    More from the team
  • It's freezing in Sydney this morning! You have our permission to stay in bed... if your kids will let you! 💖😂❄️

    mother and baby It's freezing in Sydney this morning! You have our permission to stay in bed... if your kids will let you! 💖😂❄️

    More from the team
  • The relief and joy you feel when your baby is finally born and you hear that first cry is like no other! A beautiful moment captured by @cordmamas ❤️👌🏼😘

    mother and baby The relief and joy you feel when your baby is finally born and you hear that first cry is like no other! A beautiful moment captured by @cordmamas ❤️👌🏼😘

    More from the team
  • How's this for your daily dose of cute?! We're a bit in love with that grin and a LOT in love with this @luluandmilly headband!! Adorable! 😍👌🏼💖 via @_harlowsworld_

    mother and baby How's this for your daily dose of cute?! We're a bit in love with that grin and a LOT in love with this @luluandmilly headband!! Adorable! 😍👌🏼💖 via @_harlowsworld_

    More from the team
  • Nice shoes! We love these baby timberland boots from @tiptoeyjoeyausnz So cute & comfy for little feet 👌🏼😘❤️

    mother and baby Nice shoes! We love these baby timberland boots from @tiptoeyjoeyausnz So cute & comfy for little feet 👌🏼😘❤️

    More from the team
  • Adorable fairy wings and things from @seedheritage 💖💖💖 Do you have a little fairy who would love these cute accessories?

    mother and baby Adorable fairy wings and things from @seedheritage 💖💖💖 Do you have a little fairy who would love these cute accessories?

    More from the team
  • How cute is this baby Pooh Bear onesie?! 😍😍😍🍯🍯🍯 via @sarahstage

    mother and baby How cute is this baby Pooh Bear onesie?! 😍😍😍🍯🍯🍯 via @sarahstage

    More from the team
  • This is "Little Miss Egypt". She is eight-months-old, adorable and has been dubbed "The Most Popular Baby on Facebook" after growing more than 105k followers in just a few months. Those LASHES!! via @fortafy @shanaevers

    mother and baby This is "Little Miss Egypt". She is eight-months-old, adorable and has been dubbed "The Most Popular Baby on Facebook" after growing more than 105k followers in just a few months. Those LASHES!! via @fortafy @shanaevers

    More from the team
  • Have you met Floydy? He is an extraordinary little guy who was born with Dwarfism. Read how he's adjusting to life with his twin newborn siblings in his mum's latest blog post on the Mother & Baby website (link in bio) @jade_audrey_love ❤️👶🏼💖👶🏼💙👌🏼

    mother and baby Have you met Floydy? He is an extraordinary little guy who was born with Dwarfism. Read how he's adjusting to life with his twin newborn siblings in his mum's latest blog post on the Mother & Baby website (link in bio) @jade_audrey_love ❤️👶🏼💖👶🏼💙👌🏼

    More from the team
  • Truth!! 💸😁