The massage is a time for tenderness and fun which pleasantly completes baby’s hygiene and effectively protects the skin against drying. It is an essential procedure which helps baby feel safe with her mother or father. And it’s a relaxing moment which babies adore!
Benefits of massage:
A massage has many benefits, both emotional and physical.
- It stimulates learning, calms and soothes little problems (respiratory, digestive…)
- It plays an essential part in parent-child relations by promoting mutual knowledge and reinforcing communication through touch.
- Carried out before the siesta or bedtime, it can also promote sleep.
No need to be a specialist to massage baby! Install yourself comfortably and learn the basic movements then let yourself be guided by your baby’s emotions.
Here are a few tips to find a comfortable position:
- Sit on the ground or on a bed, with your back relaxed but straight; place baby facing you, on a pillow or blanket, as close to you as possible, to reassure her.
- Or sit with your legs straight out, back straight, and place baby between your legs, on a blanket or pillow.
- Or lie baby down on the changing table.
Time for massage!
- Back massage: place your baby on his stomach, put your thumbs on each side of the vertebral column and press lightly with circular movements.
- Arm massage: hold your baby’s arm between your thumb and index finger and move in circles, descending to the wrist. Repeat in the same way for the legs.
- Hand massage: massage the palm of the hand, then down the length of each finger, massaging between the thumb and index finger. Repeat in the same way for the feet.
- Abdominal massage: set your hands on baby’s abdomen and slide the first towards the lower abdomen, pressing gently, then alternate the hands and repeat the movement.
- Facial massage: with your hands on each side of the face, caress his cheeks from the top of the jaw towards the chin.
The massage can be given from birth with a few extra precautions.
- Before massaging baby, make sure her skin is completely dry.
- Choose a quiet, warm room (temperature higher than 22°C).
- Your hands must be clean, with no jewellery and short nails.
- Undress baby and lie her on her back. Sit down close to her, your presence and the heat of your skin will reassure her.
- Spray the sweet almond oil 2 or 3 times in the hollow of your hand to reach body temperature: the oil used to massage baby is not simply to make your hand slide over her body, but also to help prevent her skin from drying.
- Massage gently.
- Extend this little session to about ten minutes to start with.
- Baby may not appreciate these little massage sessions at all, but don’t worry. She may feel stressed. Take her in your arms, talk or sing to her to reassure her. Try again in a few days time during a very calm period.