Baby Massage can work wonders because touch is the first sense to develop in the womb at only 8 weeks of pregnancy and is the most developed sense at birth. It is literally the baby’s first language. It can help with learning and understanding your baby’s cues; bonding, non-verbal communication, soothing your baby, and motor development.
Note: smell is quite developed at birth too! While sight and hearing develops few weeks after birth, and taste changes throughout life.
Baby Massage Top Tips
1. Observe the behaviour of your child and choose a quiet-alert moment
Don’t do baby massage when your baby is too sleepy or to alert. Also, don’t massage your baby when he is crying, instead just listen to what your baby is trying to communicate. Likewise, don’t massage your baby when she is sleeping. There are a different series of hormones that are being release).
2. Use a vegetable oil
Anything that you can dress your salad with is good for your baby skin. If you use one oil at a time, instead of a mix, you will know exactly what it is if there is a reaction to it. Avoid nut-based oils, (e.g almonds) and prefer grape seed, coconut, sunflower oil instead.
3. Give your baby a trigger
With a trigger your baby can expect what comes next. The first time, of course, your baby will not have a clue, but the more you do it the more you baby makes the association. The security of anticipating what is coming will make your baby happier for that event.
For baby massage you can give the trigger by rubbing a little of oil in your hands in front of your baby face, so she can smell, hear and see, while you say clearly ‘Holly, ready? Massage’.
4. Be comfortable yourself
Relax your neck and shoulders. The more relaxed your shoulders are, the more positive touch your hand will have.
5. Start from the legs
At a psychosomatic level, the legs are the least vulnerable part of the body. Starting from the legs will allow you both to become more familiar with massage before you move on to other parts of the body.
6. Massage tummy in clockwise direction or downward strokes
7. Use Still Touch
When ‘it all becomes to much’, revert to still touch instead fo stroking. Only use the natural weight of your harm and hands on your baby’s body (e.g on the tummy, or the leg). The still touch will give a sense of containment and reassurance your baby will most probabily appreciate.
8. Use positive firm pressure
Baby massage research on premature infants show that babies prefer a positive, firmer pressure. Light pressure over stimulates them. A positive firm pressure communicates confidence and trust. Firm pressure Does not mean pushing or forcing your hand on your baby’s body, but using the natural weight of your arms to lay on your baby’s body for each hand stroke.
9. Trust your instinct
be guided by your love and use intuitive touch. Don’t be intimidated you don’t have to be a baby massage expert! In my baby massage classes I always say to parents ‘you are the expert and your baby is the teacher’. Your baby will teach you his/ her likes and dislikes along the way; and obsservations is the key to undertanding him/ her.
is always the perfect way to bond with your baby and a way to both relax and/ or play together.
Remember observing your baby is the key to understanding their cues. You are the expert and your baby is the teacher.