Next week is National Baby Massage Week, and to celebrate we have a guest post from Samantha, creator of Mumma Love Organics, a family run business “based on three simple steps: Comfort, Settle and Sleep.” Mumma Love Organics specialise in products that have been designed to soothe delicate baby skin, and are perfect for use in baby massage. Today Samantha shares her tips and tricks to make baby massage a part of your daily routine with baby.
Ask anyone that has had a decent massage, how they feel afterwards and the words they tend to share are ‘amazing’ ‘relaxed’ and ’soothed’. The human body is made up of millions of nerve endings that respond positively to the power of touch, and babies are no different. Studies have shown that massage releases oxytocin hormones in the body that make us feel happy and safe, and so these sensations can work wonders for a baby that is feeling unsettled or irritable. Babies also tend to develop a heightened awareness during a massage, that helps to strengthen the bond between parent and child too.
If you’re interested in trying baby massage as part of your bedtime/ bathtime routine, here are my tips and tricks to get you started:
Have everything ready for your massage session
- Dim the lights and play music softly to create a calming atmosphere.
- Gather all your equipment together: nappy changing items, massage oil and a change of clothes.
- Spread your Cuddledry baby change mat liner on your bed (or changing table, or wherever else you intend to massage your baby) so that baby has something soft to lie on.
- Talk to your baby softly, making sure you explain what you are going to do. Just as you would an adult, you need to tell your baby you are going to be touching body parts and making sure that he/ she is prepared.
Once you have everything set up, you are ready to begin! The best time to do baby massage is right after bath time, as baby will be relaxed and skin will be softer too. Start by:
- Gently stroking the legs. This body part is often best to start with as babies are used to legs being touched during nappy changes. Tell you baby you are going to massage his/ her legs and do so with soft, slow strokes. Use a massage oil that you have warmed in your hands first.
- Move on to the arms, tummy and chest area, making sure each time that you explain what you are going to do next.
- Keep an eye on baby for any reaction to the massage. Stop immediately if baby appears distressed or irritable.
- Talk gently to your baby and even sing if it helps to relax.
Baby massage has so many benefits! Not only is it a wonderful way to wind down after a busy day, but it provides the ideal opportunity for you and baby to connect, and to form a lasting parent-child bond. As part of your regular bathtime routine, baby massage can help to:
- increase blood flow and improve oxygen levels to the brain.
- promote deeper, calmer sleep – great news for parents with a fussy baby!
- encourage babies to form a sense of trust.
- improve symptoms of postnatal depression- experience of the child’s non verbal cues has been shown to be particularly helpful to mothers, who tend to benefit from greater levels of eye contact and to gain confidence from the physical and emotional interaction.
- improve minor skin complaints such as eczema.
- improve weight gain- studies have shown that low birth weight and premature babies show an encouraging increase in weight from the physical contact.
At the end of your baby massage session, don’t forget to thank your baby- wrap him/ her in their favourite Cuddledry apron towel and enjoy a warm hug to finish the session. For more information on baby massage techniques, you can also speak to your health visitor for details on special courses that you can attend together. You can also access instructional videos on the Mumma Love Organics site here and purchase Mumma Love Organics baby massage oil here. Good luck- and enjoy!