Baby massage is gentle, rhythmic stroking of your baby’s body with your hands. You can use oils or a moisturiser to help your hands to glide smoothly over your baby’s skin. We recommend the use of organic sunflower oil. Why? Because it is cold pressed. Had vitamins and minerals to benefit baby’s skin. Also it’s tasteless so baby can safely put their hands or even their toes in their mouths and you don’t have to worry!
As part of your massage routine, we recommend the use of nurturing touch as you massage your baby’s ankles, wrists and fingers. You can talk softly, hum or sing to your baby while you are massaging, which may make it more reassuring for your baby.
The soothing strokes of your hands stimulate the production of the feel-good hormone oxytocin in you and your baby. Oxytocin is the hormone that gives you a feeling of bonding. It’s known as the love hormone and releases when we are hugged and also massaged.
What are the benefits of baby massage?
There are lots of ways baby massage can benefit not just your baby, but you and your partner as well. Massage may help your baby to:
- develop mentally, socially and physically
- stay relaxed and not get upset
- cry and fuss less
- sleep better
- increase muscle tone
- gain weight
You may find that giving your baby a massage lifts your mood and helps you to feel more empowered as a parent. The time you set aside for a massage can be your special time together. The use of nurturing touch is another way of communicating with your baby. It will make chatting with baby come naturally and gives you the chance to have plenty of eye contact with her.
This is one reason why massage can help mums with postnatal depression, or who are at risk of depression, to interact with their babies.
If you are suffering from post natal depression, know that you are not alone and there is lots of ways to get support:
Post-Natal Depression Ireland
Tel: 01 873 3500 or lo-call 1890 927 277
Baby massage can be great for dads, too. Some dads may miss out on a lot of the hands-on care of their babies, especially if they are at work.
A regular massage with dad can become a routine, maybe at bedtime. It can help to bring your baby and partner closer together.
When is the best time to massage my baby?
Pick a time when your baby is between feeds. Then she won’t be too hungry or too full. It’s also best not to start just before her nap. A good time to massage your baby is when she is awake and alert. If your baby is quietly alert and interested in her environment, it means she’ll be ready to interact with you.
A massage before bedtime will help your baby to wind down after the stimulation of the day and become calm, ready for sleep.
What do I need before I start a massage?
It is important to find a warm and quiet room for baby massage in your home where you and your baby will be comfortable and undisturbed. Make sure the room is warm (around 24 degrees C) with no draughts. Lay your baby down on a towel or folded sheet, perhaps with a changing mat underneath. You may prefer to keep your baby’s vest on if it is a little cool. Or let her enjoy being completely naked for a change.
As this is a special time for you and your baby, make sure there aren’t any distractions in the room. If you have a pet, put it in another room, and turn off your mobile phone. You may even like to play some relaxing music, turned low enough so that your baby can hear your voice.
Have everything that you’ll need to hand, including:
- massage oil
- towels or muslin squares to mop up any accidents
- clothes to dress your baby in afterwards
- your usual nappy-changing kit
What do you learn in a baby massage course?
At a Baby Massage course you get a handout of specially prepared Infant Massage strokes that will help you to then practise massage at home. Due to Covid 19 I am teaching baby massage online so that parents can learn the massage strokes in the comfort and safety of their own homes. You will:
- Learn how to massage and soothe your baby
- It can improve sleep patterns
- Increase weight gain
- Relieve wind and colic
Baby Massage classes are now available online.
To enquire about when the next 5 week course is scheduled please contact Elaine.