Baby Massage Guide for New Moms
Think about the last time you got a soothing massage. Felt pretty good, right? So it’s no wonder that a rubdown feels wonderful for your new baby, too. But there might be more to a baby massage than meets the eye. You already know that babies are soothed and calmed by a loving mother’s touch, but research actually suggests that massaging your baby from time to time can help him grow and thrive. Read on for how a rubdown can benefit your new baby and tips for giving your own baby massage at home.
The benefits: For starters, experts say that infant massage helps ease constipation and strengthen the immune system in new babies. It’s also been known to calm baby crying, and can help soothe them to sleep. If that’s not enough, experts say baby massage can even help your infant with his muscle development. Of course, you should always follow your baby’s cues. If he’s simply not in the mood for a rubdown, no amount of your soothing touches will help.
The how-to of baby massage: The first thing you’ll need is a lubricant or lotion that’s safe for your new baby’s skin. Some people even like to use vegetable oil, since it’s usually readily available in the house and is easily absorbed by your baby’s skin. Plus, it’s digestible in case your little one gets some in his mouth. After picking out your baby massage lubricant of choice, give your baby a rubdown from head to toe.
- For his head: When approaching your baby’s head, gently place your hands on both sides and run them up and down both sides of his body, all the way down to his toes.
- For his face: If he’ll let you, use your thumb to gently draw a smile on your new baby’s face by stroking from cheek to cheek.
- For his tummy: Use your fingertips to draw an oval below your baby’s belly button, then massage across his belly from one side to the other in an ‘X’ pattern.
- For his back: If your baby – of any age -- is awake, you can lay him on his stomach and try gently stroking his back from side to side, then up and down.
- For his legs and feet: Holding your new baby’s heel in one hand, use your other hand to stroke his leg from the top of his thigh down to his ankle, gently squeezing as you move down. When you get to his feet, rub them with your thumbs, and then switch legs. Repeat these strokes for your baby’s arms and hands.
It might take some time for you and your little one to get into a baby massage rhythm, but once you do, you’ll likely see a difference in his mood when the massaging starts. For new babies especially, there’s really nothing else like it.