Massaging your baby is a simple way to build a connection between you and your baby – It’s free and easy to learn. The wonderful thing about baby massage is its simplicity, it’s just you and your baby and the only things you need are:
- Time – so you can focus on your baby. With our very busy modern lives, it can be easy to forget to spend time 1:1 really looking at each other, with no radio or TV, or friends round. You don’t need a huge amount of time though; baby massage can be incorporated into your daily routine at nappy changing, after a morning nap, or at bedtime. Whatever time you have available for baby massage, it’s the quality not quantity that counts! Babies love to feel your loving gentle touch, so experiment to find a time of day that suits you both.
- A warm quiet room – we all know it’s hard to relax when you’re chilly, so find somewhere warm and cosy, and lay your baby on a towel or blanket. You can put on soothing music that you’ll both come to associate with massage.
- Oil – We recommend using cold pressed organic sunflower oil because it’s edible, so during the hand massage it doesn’t matter if it ends up in their mouth. Perfumed oils can interfere with the bonding process, babies just want to smell your real body smell! We don’t recommend using baby oil due to the unnatural base (it originates from petroleum).
- Deep breaths – before you start massaging a baby, make sure you’re relaxed and ready to focus on your baby for a short while.
- A baby! – There are a few instances in which we wouldn’t massage babies (for example after immunisations, or if they have a fever, broken skin, etc), but babies love to be massaged. Your baby should be alert and ready for a massage. If they cry pick them up for a little cuddle, and then try again. If they are telling you they don’t feel like a massage right now, check they are warm enough, not hungry or too tired. Talk to them about what you’re doing as you go and incorporate songs and rhymes to keep them interested as they get older.
This blog post first appeared in the Born Community blog online in February 2014