Let me take you into the world of baby massage. I know, the first time mothers are very nervous about massaging their baby. Massaging is beneficial for both – you and your baby as it lets you spend some quality time with your baby. It is a great way of increasing the bond with your baby. Small babies like to be touched and cuddled by their caretakers especially mothers. Massage helps them relax and also makes them physically strong.
The first thing you would like to buy before giving massage to your baby is ‘baby massage oil’. There are many popular brands and some traditional options too. People in India have preferred ‘pure mustard oil’ for baby massage for many years. However, olive oil is also considered good for babies. Always patch test the oil on your baby, so that the effects are not drastic, in case your baby is allergic to the particular oil. Even the best brands may not suit your baby. Be very careful. You will also need a massage bed or sheet, so that the oil does not make your clothes dirty. A handy towel may also be useful to wrap your baby. Let’s find out how the process of baby massage should progress.
Start with the legs
Legs are good to start as they are less sensitive than other areas. Take a little oil on your palms, pat gently on the thigh, feet and leg. Hold your baby’s thigh with one hand and squeeze gently moving towards the ankle. Repeat with the other leg.
Rotate your baby’s feet five times clockwise and then anti-clockwise. Gently massage from ankle moving to the toes. Repeat with the other foot.
Sole of the foot
Hold the foot and put both your thumbs on the centre of the sole. Make circular motions on the sole of the foot. Repeat with the other foot.
Hold each toe of your baby between your middle and index finger and slide towards the nails gently. Do not pull the toes; just glide your fingers smoothly.
Arm and hand
Wrap your hands on the baby’s arm, just near the armpit. Make milking motions starting near the armpit to all the way down to the wrist. Rotate the wrist in clockwise and then anticlockwise direction several times. Repeat with the other hand.
Press the baby’s palm gently with your both thumbs making circular motions.
Hold a finger between your thumb and index finger and glide towards the nails slowly and gently. Do the same for all the fingers and the baby’s thumbs.
Fold your hands as if you were praying and place between the chests. Open the hands and move outwards toward the armpits. While crossing the baby’s chest, flatten your palms over the chest. Repeat a few times. Now, place a palm flat on top of a chest and stroke downwards towards the thighs. Repeat on both the chests.
Lay the baby on tummy. Make sure, the baby is comfortable and can breathe well. With your fingers, make circular motions on both sides of the spine. Do not press or massage the spine. It can injure your baby. Start from near the neck and move towards the buttocks. Now place your palm flat on one shoulder and make gentle long strokes starting near the shoulder to the feet. Do the same for both sides. I repeat, do not press the spine of the baby.
Here are some additional tips – Do not massage the baby just after a meal or when she is very hungry, fussy or cranky. You may also avoid massaging a sick baby. Some babies do not respond well to massage. They may cry or shout. Don’t force your baby for a massage. Massage is for relaxing. If you force your baby for a massage, she will associate it with bad experience and never enjoy it. Try talking or singing to your baby while giving a massage, to make her feel comfortable. Never put too much force or pull any organs of your baby while massaging. If your baby starts crying before the whole process is complete, stop and try to calm her. You may try a massage for only few minutes in the beginning and when your baby gets used to, you can gradually increase the time.
Vineeta Sinha, the owner and president of Vineeta Constructions Co. is a writer and blogger at heart. An economics graduate, the talented writer has been in the writing industry for years. When asked about how she manages the two very different professions, she says, “Construction business is what me and my husband who is a civil engineer dreamt of together and I am glad we succeeded but writing is something I have been doing years before I stepped into the construction world. I was very young when I realized that there was a hidden passion for writing in me and I unveiled it through my school magazine for the very first time and there has been no looking back since then. Though construction contributes more in running my world, writing is something that completes me.”