- by Dr Guruprakash V.k.
- 1 Shares
- Nov 10 2017
HOW TO MASSAGE YOUR INFANT?
Baby massage is the activity of a parent gently stroking the body of the baby with the use of massage oil or lotion specifically made for babies. Massaging your baby can help you bond better and provide emotional as well as physical benefits. Massaging can be soothing for babies. Make sure the room is warm, your baby is quiet, well rested and alert and you are relaxed. Try a massage after a nap.
Massage promotes better sleeping, relieve colic, and enhance infant’s immune system, motor skills, and intellectual development. Do not massage immediately after feeding or when the baby is sleepy. Also, wait for 15 minutes after a massage before feeding again to give the baby’s body some extra time to relax completely. Baby massage before the bath is the ideal norm since you can wash away the oil during bath preventing the accumulation of any residual oil or lotion on the baby’s sensitive skin.
Wait till infant complete one month of time before you start massage because baby’s skin barrier is underdeveloped at birth and it takes 15 days for the skin to become completely watertight. At about 10 days of age, the baby will also shed umbilical cord stub, which can be an infection hazard if any oil gets trapped in it.
Use a blanket or towel, and massage oil in a non-breakable container. Lightning in the room is important, use as much natural light as you can. Select unscented oils, with natural fragrances, no added perfume, specifically made for babies. Loose baby’s nappy during a massage.
Here is the step by step process of massaging the baby in right manner:
1. Seeking Baby’s Permission
No one would like to give a massage when babily is not interested. The simple way to ask for permission is, take some oil in your palms and rub it gently on the baby’s tummy and behind his ears, and observe his body language. If he resists being touched or grumbles and cries when massaging, then it is probably not the right time, yet. If he is okay with what you are doing, then you can go ahead with the massage.
2. Massaging the legs
Start with baby’s feet. Rub some drops of oil on your palms and begin massaging the baby’s soles.
Massage the heels up to the toes with your thumbs. Then, using your palm, stroke the bottom and top of the baby’s foot. Do not pull any toe like they do in adult foot massage. Instead, lightly massage each toe right to the tip. Lift one of the legs gentle strokes on the ankle and slowly extend it towards the thighs. Gently stroke from the foot up to the thigh.
3. Moving to the arms
Hold the baby’s hands and make circular strokes on the palms. Slowly make small strokes on the baby’s fingers moving towards the tips of the fingers. Move your strokes slowly towards his forearm and then towards the upper arm.
4. Chest and Shoulder Massage
Make gentle strokes in tandem from the left and right shoulder towards the chest of the baby. You can then trace your hand back to the shoulder.
5. Time for tummy massage
You start your stroke from the top of the belly right below the chest bone. Place your palm gently below the chest bone and make clockwise circular strokes across the belly – all around the belly button. Do not apply any pressure and let your hand gently glide across the belly. Continue the circular motions in the clockwise direction while avoiding the belly button.
6. Massaging face and head
Massaging the face and head can be challenging since babies tend to move a lot. Begin by placing the tip of your index finger at the center of your baby’s forehead and slowly stroking along the outline of his face towards his chin. From the chin, move your finger towards his cheeks and massage his cheeks gently in a circular motion. Repeat the strokes a few times. After massaging the face, start massaging the scalp with the fingertip like you are shampooing the baby’s hair. Use gentle pressure from your fingertip and do not apply any extra pressure since the baby’s skull is delicate.
7. Finally the Back
Place your baby outstretched on his tummy with his hands at the front and not on the sides.
Place your fingertips on the baby’s upper back and trace clockwise circles while slowly moving the strokes towards his buttocks.
You then place your index finger and middle finger on either side of the upper spine and very gently move the fingers all the way to the buttocks. Repeat the strokes a few times. Do not place the fingers on the spine. Instead, place two fingers on either side of the spinal groove and run them down.
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