Infant Massage

Infant Massage

by Donna Favilla

When my daughter was born, I immediately started giving her massages.  It was our little routine, starting from dinner, bath, then baby massage.  I would make sure that her room was at a warm temperature, a soft light on, and of course her favorite music playing.  We began this ritual in hopes that it would get her on a sleeping routine and to spend some special time with our daughter.

What are the benefits?

  • Encourages bonding with your baby
  • Encourages restful sleep for your baby
  • Promotes growth for premature babies

What product should I use?

Use an edible oil that has no chemicals or fragrance. Organic grapeseed oil is ideal. Before you begin, start by testing baby’s skin with a small patch, prior to the massage, to check for any allergic reaction. It is not recommended to use oil on the face, scalp, hands or feet. Enjoy this special time of bonding with your baby!

How do I massage my baby?

  • Create a calm environment by placing the baby in a safe place such as the bed, floor, or on the changing table.  Make sure that the room is warm, lights dim and soft music is playing.  Make sure to have an extra blanket on hand, just in case you need to cover your baby. Before you begin, test the massage oil for a skin reaction.  
  • Start with asking your baby if she would like a massage.  If her temperament is fussy, wait until a later time.  I always start with the head. Remember that no oil is used there. Slowly continue down to the face. Gently massage the forehead, cheeks, chin, nose and temporals in a circular motion.
  • Gently knead and use a gliding stroke starting with the feet, legs, under the hips and back to the feet. Continue this for no more than three times.
  • Working the chest and abdomen, start with the hand on the opposite shoulder and move the hand down toward the hip making an X. Do this on both sides.  As you continue, starting at either side of the navel, bring both hands toward the shoulders and continue a downward motion making a heart.
  • The back is a great way for baby to do a little tummy time.  Make sure that the baby’s head is turned toward the side so she can breathe.  Starting at the hips and not working directly on the spine, bring hands up toward the shoulders and down the sides of the ribs to the hips, repeating a few times.