How to Massage Your Baby


Massage is one of the most widely known ways to promote natural healing, though not a lot of people associate it as a way to heal the body. While massage is an excellent way to de-stress, the benefits it can offer go far beyond relaxing the muscles. The best part of massage, especially in terms of healing, is that it can range in pressure from gentle to intense to accommodate any age and physical condition. There are a few health conditions where massage is contraindicated, or not recommended, so you should always consult your pediatrician if you have any concerns.


How to use gentle massage techniques to soothe your baby and promote a lifetime of natural healing and balance. Reduce tummy troubles, boost immune system, create a special bond, and create better sleep routines.


Why Should You Massage Your Baby

Starting a massage routine with your new baby is an excellent way to promote a lifetime of health and balance through natural healing. You will also get to spend quality time bonding with your new bundle of joy as you gently knead their tiny muscles into a relaxed and peaceful state. An after bath massage routine with your little one could extend throughout their childhood, maintaining that special connection and encouraging better sleep routines. Beware creating a tiny massage diva though, it’s not uncommon to find your toddler saying things like, “I’m ready for my massage now” or, “Ugh, I need a massage.” I mean, if you got a daily (even weekly) massage, wouldn’t you feel the same way? I know I would. Most people do not get massaged as much as they should. Even massage therapists, like myself, find it difficult to make time for regular massage. Teach your kids early that making time for our health is the best thing we can do. Things don’t matter, but health does.


How Will Regular Massages Benefit Your Baby?

  • Promotes peaceful, deeper sleep
  • Increases body sensory and awareness
  • Improves circulation
  • Boosts immune system
  • Aids digestion and soothes digestive issues
  • Creates a bonding experience
  • Calms emotional distress
  • Helps parents learn the baby’s body to better pinpoint troubles
  • Relieves colic, constipation, and gas
  • Offers skin to skin contact for fathers (or non-breastfeeding parents)


How to Massage Your Baby

  1. After bath time is an excellent time to give your baby a massage. All you need is your fresh, clean baby, a comfortable flat surface (such as a bed), and a little bit of natural lotion (like California Baby Calendula Lotion).
  2. You can begin the massage after diapering to eliminate mess, or let them enjoy a little “freedom” time.
  3. Using your thumbs, make gentle clockwise circles at the bottom of your baby’s feet and work up the legs.
  4. Begin in the same way with the palms and work your way up your baby’s arms and chest.
  5. Using a flat hand with fingers together, make clockwise circles around their abdomen (area between ribs and hip bones), apply a little more pressure and move slower. This is still meant to be gentle, but you are essentially helping to move things through their little digestive tract. This will help  alleviate tummy troubles. If your baby cries out in pain, reduce pressure. If they still cry out in pain, you may want to call the doctor and have them checked to rule out anything serious. Try not to worry though, it could just be gas, which can hurt when it’s trapped.
  6. Flip your baby over and make dual circles with your thumbs on either side of the spine, beginning at the low back and working your way up to the shoulders. It’s OK that your left hand will be making counter clockwise circles.
  7. All done!


Tips and Advice

  • Always try to keep a smooth motion that is relaxed and fluid.
  • Pay attention to your baby’s cues on pressure. Gentle touch is all you need.
  • Apply more lotion any time you feel friction.
  • Avoid rubbing over any bones.
  • This is a great time to investigate their skin so you are always aware when they grow a new freckle, mole, scratch, or other type of mark.
  • Enjoy the process and don’t be too hard on yourself if you forget to massage. Do it whenever you can, anything helps.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below, I would be happy to answer them. I have been a certified massage therapist for 11 years and have demonstrated baby massage for many friends and family in that time. I look forward to hearing your success stories after you have given a few massages to your sweet baby. Have fun!

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