How to Massage a Baby

Whether your baby is cranky or not you should take the time to massage him or her. Massaging your baby enhances the emotional bond with your child and can calm him down, improve sleep patterns and help digestion. It’s also a fantastic way for dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents and other caregivers to get to know the baby and bond with it.

Additionally, research has shown that gently massaging babies actually helps improve their growth and development. Premature babies especially benefit from being massaged.

According to one study, preemies who were massaged three times daily for ten days gained almost twice as much more weight, were more active and alert and were able to leave the hospital a week earlier than other infants.

One word of warning…you should not attempt to massage your infant if he or she is full or hungry. This could actually make your baby feel sick. Make sure the baby is completely warm, well fed and comfortable before you do anything. You might want to burp a baby first to prevent nausea while you are massaging him or her as well.

It is important that you are relaxed and comfortable as you massage the child and that you will not be interrupted. If you are not relaxed you will transfer all your stress to the baby and upset him or her. You should also make sure the room is warm enough and that there is soothing music playing.

It is best to lay your baby on his or her back and then massage the front of your baby first. Then flip him or her over and do the back. Laying the baby on a soft mat or towel is also a good idea. Be careful not to tickle the baby as he or she could find that quite upsetting as well. The baby will let you know if it is over stimulated by crying or making a big fuss.

You get great results if you massage the baby with oil. You can use any kind of vegetable oil or baby oil and you can even put a drop of essential oil in the mix. Just don't put in more than a drop as babies have sensitive skin. Also never put the oil on the baby's head or face.
It is also important to remember that not every baby likes to be massaged for a long time. A newborn may enjoy only two to five minutes of massage, while a child over two months of age might love being massaged even longer.

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