Baby Massage – Why to Do It

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Many parents find that giving baby a gentle massage before bedtime helps them to settle down and get ready to fall asleep, especially if you give them massages regularly as part of a bed time routine. Many babies fall asleep during massages (a lot like some adults), but even if they don’t, a baby massage can help them sleep better. And, of course, that means that you’ll get to sleep a little better, too.

Babies can benefit from a massage from the time you bring them home in most cases, though you shouldn’t massage a baby if she has skin abrasions, cuts, or has recently had surgery. In most cases, you should also refrain from massaging your baby if she is sick.

You can massage your baby anytime, but most parents find that babies enjoy it best between bath time and bed time. Start by talking to your baby in soothing tones as you take her out of the bath and dry her off. Continue to gently speak to her as you lay her down on a flat surface. It’s best if the surface is soft, such as a favorite blanket or a nice, soft pillow. Please note, though, that you shouldn’t leave your baby on these surfaces to sleep, due to the possibility of SIDS. If baby falls asleep during the massage, lay her on her back in her crib.

When you’re ready to begin the massage, place baby on her tummy. Put a small amount of baby oil on your hands and rub it in a bit to warm it up. Most parents prefer using unscented baby oil, as some of the scented oils may irritate baby’s skin.

Start by massaging baby’s head and temples by making gentle, circular motions. All of the touch involved in baby massage should be gentle. She’ll have plenty of time for deep tissue massages when she grows up.

Massaging a baby is a fairly simple affair, and as long as you are gentle, there really isn’t any way you can mess it up. After you are done with baby’s head, work your way down to the shoulders, then to the back. Take your time and get all of baby’s body parts. Massage her arms, hands, and fingers.

After you’re done with the shoulders, arms, and back, move down to baby’s bottom and legs. Again, take your time. Most babies enjoy being massaged, and there’s no need to rush through it. The work will pay off soon enough when baby is sound asleep and you have some time to rest yourself.

Of course, if you find that your baby does not like having certain parts of her body massaged, you can always skip over them. Conversely, if there are parts of the massage that your baby particularly enjoys, feel free to spend more time there.

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This entry was posted in About Your Baby.


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