Treat Your Little One To A Deeply Soothing Massage
Massages can soothe your baby and relax you. Learn how to massage a baby with our guide for parents. Find out how it strengthens your bond with your baby.
Your touch is the most powerful way to communicate with your baby. It helps lead to happy, healthy baby development. A gentle massage can calm your baby, aid in her development and even help her sleep better. Daily infant massage is also a great way to bond with baby. What's more, researchers are finding that massage may relieve colic, and enhance your baby's immune system. It could also help her motor skills, and intellectual development. Here is a step by step guide that shows you how to massage a baby.
How To Massage An Infant
Yow will need a blanket, some baby oil, your nimble hands, and 20 minutes of your time. Make sure baby is in a good mood, not hungry but not too full either. Let the room be warm and not too brightly lit. Undress your baby down to her diaper and place her on the blanket, cradling her head on your feet. Start with a gentle "hello" stroke from baby's head to her toes. If your infant stiffens, cries, or becomes irritable, move to another body part or simply end the massage for the day. If she responds well, gently begin massaging her body section by section.
1. Let your pinky's edge move like a paddle across your baby's belly. Starting at the base of the rib cage, stroke down with one hand, then the other, in a paddle-wheel-like motion. Massage her abdomen with your fingertips in a circular, clockwise motion.
2. Walk your fingers around her navel, clockwise. Hold her knees and feet together and gently press knees up toward her abdomen. Rotate baby's hips around a few times to the right. This often helps expel gas. Place hand on tummy horizontally and rock your hand from side to side a few times.
Note: Avoid massaging tummy if the cord hasn't completely healed.
Head and Face
Cradling your baby's head in both hands, massage the scalp with your fingertips, as if you're shampooing. Avoid the fontanel, the soft spot on top of baby's head. Massage her ears using your thumb and index finger. Trace a heart shape on your baby's face, bringing your hands together at the chin. Place your thumbs between your baby's eyebrows, and stroke out. Again with your thumbs, stroke gently out over baby's closed eyelids. Stroke from the bridge of the nose out over the cheeks. Using your fingertips, massage the jaw in small circles.
Place both hands on your baby's chest and stroke outward from her sternum to her shoulders. Beginning at her sternum, trace a heart shape bringing both hands up to her shoulders, then down and back together. In a crisscross pattern, stroke diagonally from one side of your baby's hip, up and over the opposite shoulder, and back down to her hip.
1. With one hand, hold baby's wrist. Relax her upper arm by tapping it lightly. Hold her wrist with one hand and hold your other hand in a C-shape around baby's upper arm; stroke from her shoulder down to her wrist.
2. With each hand grasping her arm, one right above the other, stroke down from shoulder to wrist with both hands rotating in opposite directions, as if you were gently wringing a towel. Massage her palm, moving thumb over thumb from heel of her hand to her fingers.
3. Stroke down top of hand from wrist to fingertips. Gently squeeze and pull each finger. Massage her wrist by moving your fingers in small circles. Roll her arm between both your hands.
1. Place baby on tummy horizontally in front of you. Keep her hands in front of her. With both of your hands on baby's back, move each hand back and forth from the base of the neck to her buttocks. Using your fingertips, massage in small circles down one side of baby's spine and up the other. Avoid pressing on her spine directly.
2. Massage her shoulders with small circular motions. Holding your fingers like a rake, stroke down her back.
1. Lift one of her legs by the ankle and relax it by gently tapping the upper thigh. Hold her ankle with one hand and hold your other hand in a C-shape, thumb down, around your baby's upper thigh. Stroke from her thigh down to her foot.
2. With your hands grasping the leg at the thigh, one right above the other, stroke down from hip to foot with both hands rotating in opposite directions, as if you were wringing a towel. On the sole of her foot, use a thumb-over-thumb motion to massage from heel to toes. Use your whole hand to stroke the bottom of her foot from heel to toes.
3. Stroke the top of her foot. Gently squeeze and pull each toe. Massage around her ankle using small circles. Roll her leg between your hands, as if you're rolling dough.
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