The best time to start infant massage is within the first three months, as babies begin to develop important physical and intellectual abilities, including motor skills.
The infant massage techniques will be very light and gentle. The goal is to get baby comfortable and familiar with your touch.
Getting started with baby massage
Massage can be soothing for babies. Make sure the room is warm, your baby is quiet, well-rested and alert, and you’re relaxed. Try massage after a nap, when your baby is being changed or in the cot, or after a bath. You can do massage for 10-30 minutes.
Smooth a few drops of baby massage oil or sorbolene cream into your warm hands and massage the soles of baby’s feet. Use firm, gentle, slow strokes from heel to toe. Always keep one hand on baby. If you see signs of allergic reaction to the oil, wipe it off and see your GP.
Do long smooth strokes up baby’s leg. Massage from ankle up to thigh and over hip. Massage both legs at once or one at a time. Avoid the genital area. Hold baby’s leg under the knee and gently press it towards the tummy to help release wind.
Upper body massaging for babies
Face and back massage for babies
Use your finger pads to massage baby’s face. Stroke from the middle of baby’s forehead, down the outside of his face and in towards his cheeks. Massage the scalp in small circles.
If baby is still relaxed when you’ve finished massaging the front of his body, you can turn him onto his tummy and use long, smooth strokes from head to toe.
Use a soothing touch. Stop the massage if your baby seems uncomfortable. Avoid massage if you’re very tense, or if your baby is upset. Make sure your fingernails are short.