Baby massage was introduced to North America fairly recently, but this practice of massaging newborns has been around for thousands of years in different parts of the world such as China, Egypt and India. The practice of baby massage is still done by most South Asian households. There are many different reasons, techniques and benefits to baby massage from culture to culture and I will be sharing a few of these with you today.
To get started: My goal with this post is to share some information with all the new moms and dads that might be a little scared to massage their tiny little human. Rest assured, baby massage is nothing to be afraid of and everyone involved (baby and parent) will benefit from baby massage.
A lot of people wonder why babies need massage as most people associate massage therapy with stress, body aches and pains. But there are many physical, emotional and mental benefits of massage for your little one.
Some of the many benefits of infant massage are:
● relief of gas and colic symptoms
● better sleep
● improvement in blood circulation
● improvement in skin conditions
● increased bonding between parent and child
● improved digestion by promoting bowel movements
● promotes relaxation for parent and child
● increases in sensory simulation and body awareness
● parents learn more about their baby's body cues, wants and needs
Many parents ask how often their baby can get a massage and the answer to that is every day. Many parents have a bedtime or bath time routine with their babies that include a baby massage. You don't have to take a specialized course to massage your baby. I will share some gentle massage techniques for you to use when massaging your baby.
A popular massage technique is the "I Love You" massage. This great for gas, colic and digestion. You will be massaging your baby's stomach mimicking the letters "I", "L" & "U". Refer to the diagram below when reading the massage steps. Standing in front of your baby you will gently press down on the right side of the stomach. This will be repeated 5-10 times and don't be afraid to use some pressure because the goal of this technique is to engage the colon. Here is a picture of this technique. We will follow this up with the "L" and the "U". You can repeat this until you feel your baby's stomach get a little softer.
Image 1. “I Love You” massage techniques. Repeat each step 5-10 times.
This next technique is called "wringing" and will be used for your baby's arms and legs. You will put one hand in a c-shape at the shoulder and stroke down to the wrist with your hand rotating in opposite directions as if you were gently wringing a towel. You can repeat this from their thigh to their ankle.
My hope is that this post gave you the information and confidence to start a massage routine with your baby.
Hi everyone! My name is Saleha Rajab, I’m a Registered Massage Therapist and Holistic Nutritionist. I’ve had additional training in infant massage and pregnancy massage through Trimesters Massage Education Therapy. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to reach out to me at Snuggles n Bubbles Baby Spa & Wellness.