When you bring your baby home, there are several activities that you must learn to administer with love and care. Not only do these activities fuel the growth and comfort of your child, but they also build the bond between a child and his/her parent. Massaging the baby is an important activity that you will need to carry out every single day so that the bones of the child develop in the best possible manner. This is also a comforting activity that will soothe the child. Here are the do’s and don’ts when it comes to massaging your baby.
Choose the time
The ideal time to massage your baby would be just before bath. Ensure that the child has not had a feed just before the massage. If the last feed was even half an hour before your chosen massage time, you would do well to wait for at least 20 to 30 minutes more. The baby does not move around like adults, so it takes longer for him or her to digest the feed. Also, the massage should preferably happen in the morning and on a balcony or a terrace where the child can enjoy the sunshine.
Prepare the area
Before the massage, ensure that the area for the massage is well-prepped. Take a mat and lay it down on the bed or the place where you plan to give a massage. You can also use the changing table for this purpose. Then, lay a sheet and the diaper changing mat on top of the sheet to catch any sudden spills. Keep the oil or the cream next to you with at least two towels at hand. This is to ensure that you have a spare towel in case one gets soiled. Make sure that the area is clean and hygienic before you lay the baby down; the mat and the sheet should be clean. Placing pillows around the baby as you start is also a good idea.
Choose the massage oil or the cream
It is best to massage the baby with oil, especially coconut oil or any other infused oil. However, for your newborn baby, it is essential to first test the oil on a small area to look out for any rashes or allergies before you use an oil, especially a store-bought one. You can use almond oil, coconut oil, olive oil, or even mustard oil to massage your baby. Prepare a concoction and store it for use, or bring in an oil from a reputed brand that packs in the nutrients of all these oils together for the growth and development of the baby.
Prepare before you start
Ensure that the oil is not too cold. If you warm it, you should do so on the stove top for uniform heating rather than in the microwave, which can lead to heat bubbles and subsequent burns on the baby’s skin. Do not warm the oil too much as contact with your hands and skin, as well as the friction while rubbing will ensure that it warms up soon enough. Warm the oil only if it is winter and very cold. Clean your hands well before you start and spread a hand towel over your lap so that you do not stain your clothes.
Start the massage
Make the baby lie down face down first and take a little oil in the palm. Start rubbing it in gentle circular motions over the baby’s skin. Do not rub too hard as it may lead to skin peels and abrasions. Rub from the neck to the toes in long motions and pull gently at the legs and arms while you do so. This will ensure that the child’s muscles are also exercised in a gentle way. Turn the baby over and start massaging over the chest, stomach, and the limbs. Make sure you are extra gentle when you reach the chest and stomach area. Many babies tend to cry when the stomach is being massaged, so you will need to be quick with this portion. Stretch the baby’s limbs and massage well, until the oil seeps in properly.
Once the massage is done, you should wrap the baby in a dry towel and wait for at least 10 to 15 minutes so that the massage oil and all its goodness seeps into the baby’s skin and bones. This will ensure that the baby gets the benefit of nutrients packed in the oil.
Once you have given a bath to the baby, wrap him or her in a towel and apply some moisturizer on the skin so that the body remains well-moisturized and supple throughout the day. Do this quickly as the baby will be hungry by this time.
Ensure that your baby is well protected from undue heat and cold during the massage. You can put a towel over the area that is not being massaged, and wrap the baby as soon as you are done.