ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel


Updated on April 18, 2013


Being a new mum can sometimes seem a never ending cycle of feeding and changing nappies. So give yourself and your little one a break.

Massage can be relaxing for both babies and parents. Massaging your baby gives you a time when you can relax and be together and it can have lots of wonderful benefits too. It can even help to relieve symptoms of Post Natal Depression. A study 'Massage and Mother Baby Interaction with Depressed Mothers', carried out by Foetal and Neonatal Stress Research Group, looked into whether mothers suffering from PND would benefit from attending baby massage sessions with their babies

The group who attended several massage classes was compared with a similar group who participated in a support group. At the end of the test period the massage group had significantly less depression and very significantly better interaction with their babies, than the support group mothers. From these results it is clear that baby massage really works to help a depressed mum’s relationship with her baby.

Massage can:

Reduce crying and help relieve colic.

How to spot colic:-

Typically, colic starts in the first month, and continues until your baby is around 3 months.

  • The baby is inconsolable
  • It occurs in babies under three months of age
  • It's usually worse in the evening after feeding and characterised by high-pitched screaming

Encourage better sleeping patterns for your baby

Help keep baby’s immune system healthy

Help you to bond with your baby

Get Dads involved too

Promotes Communication

Does my baby have to be a certain age?

Babies of any age normally enjoy being massaged. Young babies seem more relaxed after a massage and toddlers who may be experiencing the ‘terrible two’s’ appreciate the release of tension a massage gives.


Lay baby on either a towel on the floor or on the bed. If you are using oil you will need to place a towel to absorb any drips. You can use either baby oil or lotion. Don’t use massage oil which contains almond or peanut oil due to possible allergic reaction to nuts. Before you start ask baby’s permission to begin the massage. This may feel a little silly but it is considered standard practice.

Leg Strokes

Apply the lotion or oil to baby’s leg so that it coats it. There are various different styles of massage which are set out below. Work on one leg at a time, repeating the strokes.

This action is called Indian Milking

Hold baby’s foot with one hand and stroke the leg beginning at the buttocks and moving down the leg to the ankle. Hold your hand in a slightly curved position – like a ‘C’. Next use the other hand to hold baby’s foot and again stroke down the leg to the ankle Continue repeating the milking stroke alternating your hands so that you first stroke the outside and then the inside of the leg.

The Squeeze and Twist Action

Keep your hands in the ‘c’ shape and, starting at baby’s hip hold the leg with both hands close together; alternate a gentle squeezing and twisting motion from the hip to the ankle.

Sole to Foot

Begin by stroking the bottom of baby’s foot from the heel to the toes with your thumbs, one after another.

Squeeze Each Toe

Gently squeeze each toe. This is a great time to recite:

Stroking Top of Foot:

Stroke the top of the foot toward the ankle.


Press gently all over the bottom of baby’s foot with your thumbs.

Swedish Milking

This is similar to the Indian Milking action. The only difference is that the curved hand strokes the leg from the ankle to the hip.

Now we move onto the rest of the body

Stomach Strokes

Stomach strokes help tone the intestinal system and relieve wind and constipation. These strokes must be done in a circular clockwise direction on baby’s tummy.

Scooping in the Sand

Using a firm but gentle pressure; starting below the ribs and moving to the lower abdomen. Make strokes with the sides of your hands, hand over hand; one hand following the other as though you were scooping sand towards you.

Thumb Bird

Put your thumbs on a level with baby’s tummy button and gently stroke outwards towards the sides.

Sunrise Sunset

Your left hand begins by making a full circle on baby’s stomach, moving clockwise. Your right hand makes a half circle in a clockwise direction starting at about 10 o’clock on baby’s tummy and stoke down to 4 o’clock. Then lift your right hand up and over your left hand making continuous circular strokes. Massage around and around with your hands like the hands of a clock.

Open Book

Place your hands together palm to palm, in a 'praying' gesture, with your fingertips pointing towards the baby's head, your thumbs uppermost. Now imagine that your hands are a closed book, and your thumbs are the spine of the book. Place your little fingers - they are the edges of the pages - against the baby's skin and 'open' the book by spreading your hands, until your thumbs - still touching each other - reach the baby's flesh. Separate your hands and continue to move them outward across your baby in one smooth motion. Stroke from the centre to the side of baby’s chest, following the rib cage. Bring your hands around in a heart-shaped motion to the centre again and repeat the stroke.


Begin with both hands at baby’s sides, at the bottom of the rib cage. Move your right hand across baby’s chest diagonally to baby’s right shoulder. Massage the shoulder very gently. Move your hand down across baby’s chest to its original position. Repeat with your left hand moving up and across to baby’s left shoulder. Follow one hand after the other, rhythmically criss-crossing baby’s chest.

Hands and Arms Strokes

These strokes are similar to those for the legs and feet.

Indian Milking

Hold baby’s wrist in your hand. With your other hand in the ‘c’ shape; start at baby’s shoulder and stroke smoothly down to the hand. Change hands and repeat the stroke. Continue this stroke, alternating hands, making contact with the inner and outer areas of the arm.

Squeeze and Twist

Start at baby’s upper arm, use the ‘c’ shape of your hands and slowly squeeze and twist with both hands moving down baby’s arm to the wrist using gentle pressure.

Open Hand

Stroke baby’s palm gently with both thumbs. If baby is making a tight fist, gently stroke the tops of the fingers to encourage baby to relax and open their hand for you.


Gently squeeze and stroke each finger between your fingers and thumb.

Back of Hand

Gently stroke the back of baby’s hand from the wrist to the fingers.


Massage the baby’s wrist by making small circles from front to back.

Swedish Milking

Support baby’s wrist, and stroke upwards from the wrist to the shoulder. Using smooth firm strokes continue, alternating hands.

Back Strokes

The back massage strokes are very relaxing, and are favourites of both babies and toddlers. Lay the baby on the tummy. You may need to talk to baby as he won’t be able to see you.

Back and Forth

Begin with both hands at the top of baby’s back. Glide your hands back and forth, in opposite directions, going down the back to the buttocks, up to the shoulders, then back down again.

Neck to Bottom

Cup baby’s bottom with one hand. Beginning at baby’s neck, your other hand glides down smoothly to the bottom. Repeat the stroke several times.

Bottom to Ankles

Support the baby’s feet with one hand and repeat the gliding strokes with your other hand moving all the way down the legs to baby’s feet.

Small Circles on the Back

Use the tips of two fingers to draw small circles all over the back, working from top to bottom. Try to draw the circles by gently shifting the skin, rather than rubbing your fingers over the skin.


With your hand open and fingers spread apart, gently "comb" baby’s back starting at the neck and moving to the buttocks. Repeat several times allowing the strokes to become lighter and lighter. End with a very light "feather" touch.

Face and Head

There are also movements for massaging baby’s face and head but most babies do not like this. If you find that your baby does, then go ahead.

Starting with the forehead, use the open book technique but do not use the whole hand; only the tops of the fingers.

Use your thumbs to stretch the forehead gently from the centre outwards.

Stroke the tips of your forefingers down the line of the jaw, from the front of the ear until your fingers meet in the middle of the chin.

Draw small circles on the skin just in front of the ears.

Stroke the bridge of the nose, then down the sides of the nose and across the cheekbones

Stroke from the bridge of the nose outwards; smoothing the eyebrows.

Run the pads of your thumbs gently down from the centre of the eyebrow and over the eyelid, gently closing baby’s eyes.

Stroke the top lip, finishing in an upward stroke, making the shape of a smile then do the same with the lower lip.

Tell me more

If you would like to learn more, you may like to attend a baby massage course. You could ask your midwife, health visitor, medical centre or maternity hospital for details of local teachers or courses. If you are in the UK, The National Childbirth Trust should have details too. There are also good DVD’s and videos on the subject, available from stores like W.H. Smith and Amazon.

© Susan Bailey 2008 All Rights Reserved


Do you Massage your Baby?

See results

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)