How to Maximise Your Baby Massage Experience
Remember how you are encouraged to have skin-to-skin contact with your baby after giving birth? This is because touch contributes to your baby’s first emotional bonds, which builds a foundation for his or her development later in life.
Giving your baby regular massages is a wonderful way to continue strengthening the bond between you and your baby. In addition to bonding with your baby, there are other benefits to massaging your baby, such as:
- Stimulating your baby’s circulatory and digestive systems
- Reducing crying
- Calming your baby and reduce anxiety
- Promoting better sleeping habits
Here are some tips to help you maximise the benefits of a baby massage:
Choose a Suitable Time for You and Your Baby
While many experts often recommend giving your baby a nighttime massage to wind down the day and promote better sleep, there isn’t a specific time that is perfect for a baby massage. For instance, some babies may feel stimulated instead after a nighttime massage instead, and find it difficult to fall asleep.
You should find a massage timing that fits your schedule and meet your baby’s needs to maximise the benefits of the baby massage. That having said, there are some timings you should definitely avoid, such as immediately after feeding your baby. Massaging your baby too soon after feeding may cause your baby to vomit.
Choose a Warm and Cosy Environment
You should massage your baby in a warm, quiet place, and in a comfortable spot. Make sure your hands and wrists are free of any accessories. Place your baby on a towel or on his or her back to maintain eye contact with you. As you prepare your baby for the massage, let him or her know that it is massage time.
Watch Your Baby’s Response
Even though your baby is unable to speak, he or she can still show signs of liking or disliking the massage. For example, if your baby is jiggling his or her arms and seem comfortable, it is a sign for you to continue. On the other hand, if your baby appears restless or turns his or her head away from you, you should stop and try again later.
Use Massage Oil If Needed
Some parents may find oil too messy, while others use it to reduce friction from massaging. If you prefer to use massage oil, take note of the following when choosing one for your baby massage:
- Test the oil first. Babies with allergies or sensitive skin may develop a reaction when massage oil is used. To ensure the oil is safe, dab a small amount on your baby’s skin first.
- Use an odourless and edible oil. As your baby may accidentally ingest the oil, choose one that is free from harsh ingredients, or one that is plant-based, such as coconut oil. Avoid olive oil or sunflower oil as research has shown that these two oils may delay the development of your baby’s skin barrier function. Check with your paediatrician or medical professional if you’re unsure which massage oil is suitable for your baby.
Frequent baby massages are a healthy way to calm and bond with your baby. However, you may not get it right with your baby immediately. With time and practice, and perhaps with some coaching, you will slowly get the hang of it, and eventually develop a deeper bond with your baby.