Top Baby Massage Scents

The benefits of baby massage are well known: Babies are more relaxed, sleep better, cry less, and may even be healthier if they get a routine rubdown. And because a baby knows the scent of her mom (and her breast milk) and can recognize other calming smells she’s encountered before, adding soothing aromas to your new baby’s massage routine is a smart idea. But certain scents may not be appropriate for your new baby. To be safe, follow these tips.

Safety’s first: Speak with your doctor before using any kind of scent during your baby’s massage. She may not recommend a scented baby massage oil for infants less than 3 months of age, as sensitive skin may be a factor. Never allow your baby to ingest essential oils and be very careful not to apply it near the eyes or mouth; you’ll also want to avoid massaging your new baby’s hands as she will likely try to suck her fingers or rub her eyes during or after the massage.

Shop around: There are many specially-made scented baby massage products on the market, so take a look (and a whiff!) to determine which ones might be appealing. Lavender is a popular, calming scent, as is chamomile, apricot, and vanilla. If you want to use an essential oil, speak with your baby’s doctor about a formula to dilute it.

Make it routine: As you may know, babies are creatures of habit and tend to thrive on a regular routine. Schedule your baby massage at about the same time each day (after bath time and just before bed is ideal). Use the same scent each time, too. Your new baby will be relaxed not only by the familiar smell, but also by the fact that she can count on this special treat.

Your own aroma: The most soothing scent you can provide during a baby massage comes from your own body. Here’s your chance to skip a shower -- your baby prefers your natural scent!

Take advantage of your new baby’s smart and sensitive nose. Adding soothing scents to her baby massage will increase her pleasure and add to an already relaxing experience.

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.

Answers to Your Baby Massage Questions

Who doesn’t love a good massage? Babies are no different from adults when it comes to soothing, skin-to-skin contact. Consider giving your little one a massage a couple of times a week to see how she reacts; if she enjoys it, you can do it more often. Ready to start? Read on for tips on when (and why) to give your baby a soothing rubdown.

Reap the benefits.
The advantages of infant massages are vast and varied: It builds a stronger bond, improves relaxation, encourages better sleep, and reduces crying. And, believe it or not, moms (and dads!) enjoy a few perks, too, including better self-esteem and confidence in their ability to care for their newborns and respond to their cues.

Perfect the timing.
Pay attention to your new baby’s mood and decide whether she’s ready for an infant massage. Most tots are rather content in the morning and may welcome a rubdown; others might like it just before an afternoon nap or after bath time as part of the bedtime routine. Avoid a baby massage right after she eats, however, as it may cause her to vomit (wait about 45 minutes after a feeding).

Watch the response.
See how your baby reacts to an infant massage so you can gauge her enjoyment. If she’s wiggling her arms, cooing, or smiling, then you can continue the good work! But if you notice her turning her head away, or she seems restless or cranky, give it a rest and try again another day.

Make the most of the massage.
The best part about any baby massage is the bond that forms when you gently touch your infant. Boost this connection while you stroke your baby by talking to her, singing a quiet song, or chanting her name softly so she can relax and release any tension she may feel.

Massage is an ancient art, one that babies all over the world enjoy. Don’t worry if your infant massage technique isn’t perfect or you think your new baby isn’t having a good time. Practice it when you can, and you’ll soon find the rhythm and touch that best suits your baby.

How to Give a Healthy Baby Massage

Babies love to be touched, and newborns in particular can benefit from the gentle touch of your fingertips. Massage is a great way to relax and bond with your baby. Try these tips to master proper baby massage techniques.

1. Be aware of a tender tummy. Wait about 45 minutes after feeding your baby before starting a baby massage. Stopping to wipe away her spit-up can interrupt the peaceful flow!

2. Set the mood. Pick a tranquil environment, such as a warm room with low lighting. Lay your baby in a safe, flat place -- a soft blanket on the floor is your best bet.

3. Keep cozy. Some newborns may get cold and fuss if left naked for too long, so cover the parts of your baby’s body that aren’t being massaged.

4. Use firm fingers. Use the tips of your fingers and apply firm but gentle pressure. Place your baby on her tummy and start with 5-second strokes, moving from her head and neck down to her bottom, repeating 12 times. Flip her to her back and stroke her face, cheeks, chest, tummy, and limbs. You can also rub the soles of her feet and palms of her hands. Finish your baby’s massage by gently flexing and extending her legs and arms.

5. Follow your baby’s lead. If she’s unhappy with the rubdown, don’t feel like you need to continue. But if she’s smiley, cooing, or starts to fall peacefully asleep, you can make this baby massage a daily habit.