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How to Massage Your Baby Using 4 Easy Steps

Updated on August 22, 2011
Massage baby from head to toe
Massage baby from head to toe
Massage makes for a happy baby!
Massage makes for a happy baby!

Having a baby is one of the most rewarding and satisfying things a woman can do. To have a baby takes so much commitment, devotion and love. And when you finally have that bouncing bundle and want to improve the loving bond between you and baby, what can you do to improve the bond while being a loving parent?

Baby massage is a wonderful way to help your baby relax and help you both to feel good about the maternal bonding. Eastern cultures have been doing it for decades. And no wonder, it has a number of wonderful benefits and is known as being one of the most nurturing things that you can do for your baby and child, besides breastfeeding. Here are some simple to remember techniques to assist you with baby massage.

Step 1- Preparation

Be sure to begin this process in a warm and comfortable atmosphere for both you and baby. Put on some soothing music, if you like, and then you can begin soothing and loving your baby. Have a towel handy and diaper and wipes supply nearby in case of any unforeseen accidents.

Use gentle, downward strokes
Use gentle, downward strokes

Step 2- Keep it Simple

For the first time, keep it to a 10-15 minute session. Babies that are not used to this stimulation need time to warm up to it. For a new baby, be especially gentle on the skin, as they will still be sensitive to the touch.

Step 3- Apply Oil

Use a grape seed oil or olive oil to apply onto your baby's skin. These are easily absorbed and good for baby's skin. Apply to your hands first and rub your palms together to get the oil nice and warm.

Step 4- Soothing Touch

  • Begin massaging with light and smooth facial swipes, begin with the forehead and glide your fingers around under the jaw line, continue this lightly. Include the neck and cheeks. Then move to one of the arms, begin to "milk" the arm gently, make sure to do one arm at a time. Once both arms are completed you can then move onto the belly.
  • Position your hands vertically across your baby's belly and gently rub downwards, one hand first then the next, repeat as you wish.
  • The legs and feet are next, they are very similar to the arms, use the "milking" technique and so in other words pull down on the legs with both hands, but again, one leg at a time.
  • Once finished with these body parts if your baby is tolerating this well, you can turn your baby onto his belly and proceed to massage his back. This does not require any pressure at all; continue with gentle strokes with your hands positioned vertically.

Baby massage can be done by virtually anyone! Before you try to give your baby a massage keep in mind that if baby is crying and not enjoying the massage session, then leave it and try again another time. Sometimes it's just too much stimulation. The other point to remember is to not try this with a premature baby, their skin is much more sensitive to touch, and may even be painful.

Once you have mastered this technique your baby will actually look forward to your special one on one time together. It can calm your baby down for the night and help them get a good night of sleep. Or it just may be enough to settle them down for a nap. Either way, baby massage is a loving way to calm down your little one.

Benefits of Baby Massage

  • Improves the bond between baby and parent.
  • Can assist with colicky babies by expelling excessive gas, reducing colon spasms, encourages the release of endorphins that naturally reduce pain and decreases stress hormones.
  • Dr. Tiffany Field, founder of the Touch Research Institute says that a five-minute massage enhances the performance of babies and children on tasks requiring attentiveness.
  • Enhances babies' psychological, physiological, and developmental growth.

When Not to Massage

  1. Do not massage baby if you are in a hurry, annoyed or upset.
  2. Do not massage a premature baby (their skin is very sensitive) unless you get the advice and go ahead from a health professional first.
  3. Do not massage baby when he is sick, fevered or has a rash.
  4. Massage baby when he is awake to have him enjoy the full benefits.


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    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Great tips - especially the one about being hurried or upset. If Tuesday nights are usually massage baby night but on this Tuesday night you are tired, upset or overworked, it is likely better to skip the massage. Voted up and useful.

    • thebookmom profile image

      thebookmom 6 years ago from Nebraska

      What a great hub! Thanks for the clear, easy directions. I know my little one will love this :)