Becoming a parent and getting involved in nurturing a baby and aiding its growth and development is one of the most memorable and cherished experiences of a lifetime for anyone. A baby’s care does not begin and end with just its feed but involves a plethora of other important activities to take care of. One such prominently significant activity is baby massaging. This in itself is an art and the science behind it is something to vouch for and aids positively in the baby’s growth, health and development. This has been acknowledged the world-over as well.
Like all other activities involving a baby, even baby massage comes with a host of apprehensions for the new mothers. Questions like which oil, what technique, duration, do’s and don’ts all start spinning around in the mother’s mind, which is nothing surprising! This is one period when elderly advice plays a crucial role and in their absence, baby masseurs can be called in for assistance. Remember that the purpose of a massage is to aid growth and is not a recreational activity and hence the key-word here is “gentle” both in letter and spirit.
Right from newborns to crawling babies, massaging needs to be done and definitely the techniques and duration change as the baby grows. When it comes to newborns, since they are sleeping for the most part, usually a little bit of massaging is done when the baby is taken for a bath. It is important that the oil being used is mild and gently aromatic since babies are very sensitive. The market is flooded with a lot of options in this segment, which can be chosen or can go in for a home-made preparation. Massaging can be done either on a thick towel or if you are comfortable, place the baby gently over your outstretched legs like how the masseurs do. Youtube is flooded with baby massaging videos to learn from.
For a newborn baby, only a few milking motion like massaging of hands and legs and very gently pulling each of the fingers and toes until they slip away from your hand, should do the trick. Along with it a slow rub around the chest area and back should help.
As the baby grows older, more massaging techniques come into play. It is very important for you to cuddle your baby, engage in conversation, hug and kiss your baby or rather, in short keep your baby happy while massaging. Now let’s analyse on how to go about with the process starting with the legs.
Take little oil in your palm and start from the baby’s thighs and gently come down while doing a “milking” like motion.
Using your thumb make circular motions around this area.
Slowly and gently pull each toe outwards until it slips away from your hand.
Similar to legs, start from the arms; come down in a milking like motion.
Gently rotate the wrists in circular motions
In a slow manner, gently pull out each and every finger outwards until it slips away from your hand.
Using both your palms, slowly and gently fan out in an outward motion.
Lightly rub the area with your palm.
Turn the baby around to lie on its stomach and slowly fan out your palms in an outward motion around the spine and do a little upward and downward motion as well.
Without much pressure, gently rub the oil in circular motions.
Gently rub the oil around the cheeks, chin, nose and forehead; be cautious not to get the oil into eyes, nostrils or mouth. Avoid oil getting into ears.
Use a lot of your fingers while massaging the baby’s head and be very slow and gentle.
So what we understand here is that by massaging we are only trying make the baby grow stronger, help in developing strong bones and also provide a soothing and relaxing effect. Most importantly, don’t massage the baby before or after a meal or when it is sleepy.
In the end, don’t forget to make this a thoroughly enjoyable experience both for you and the child.