Baby Mom & Care

11 Tips for Baby Massage

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Calm and satisfy your baby by following these simple tips on infant massages.

Never underestimate the power of a gentle massage of your baby. “Massage reduces irritation and helps babies sleep better – these are the two biggest complaints in babies,” says Dr. Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine. “Parents generally find that babies have a favorite place to massage,” she adds, so try these simple techniques to find the sweet spot for your baby.

  1. Start at the bottom of the ribs and massage your baby’s tummy in circular motions in a clockwise direction. (Going in this direction aids digestion.)
  2. Fear not – baby massages don’t have to be a formal affair, and you don’t have to be an expert. Just consider sneaking in a quick foot rub or a light belly rub as a way of saying “I love you.”
  3. After baby’s bath is the perfect time for a massage. She’s already naked, and her skin is still damp – the perfect time to apply oil or lotion.
  4. Put the oil or lotion in the palm of your hand and rub your hands together, which warms the lotion and your hands – and makes massages more comfortable and enjoyable.
  5. Using your entire hand, gently massage each leg, applying gentle pressure on her thighs. Bend your baby’s legs and knees, which will gently push his thighs toward his body.
  6. Using your thumb, gently press each toe, the footbed, and then the toes again. Next, hug each of the toes and use circular motions to massage the heels.
  7. Use slow and regular strokes when massaging your baby, says Field.
  8. Lay your baby flat on his stomach, making large, slow movements around his head, neck, back, and legs, always in one direction. Gently move her shoulders and back, and massage these areas with your fingertips, using small, circular motions. Take care not to put pressure on the child’s spine.
  9. Form a loop with your middle finger and thumb around your baby’s arm. Hug the armpit area and then work your way up the armpit. Be gentle – especially at the elbow, which is a very sensitive area.
  10. If you want a lightweight natural oil that won’t leave baby feeling energized, we love Mustela’s Massage Oil. But if your baby has very dry skin, Johnson’s Baby Gel ($ 4; drugstores) is super-heavy-duty without the messy runny of regular mineral oil.
  11. Start by striking the forehead, temples, and the bottom of the skull. We move to the eyebrows, eyelids, nose, cheeks, and around the mouth, then the ears and the areas around them.

All content here, including advice from physicians and other healthcare professionals, should be taken as opinions only. Always seek the direct advice of your doctor with any questions or concerns you may have concerning your own health or the health of others.