Baby Massage - The perfect way to bond with your baby.

Baby Massage - The perfect way to bond with your baby.

What is baby massage? 

Baby massage is the perfect way to enjoy time with your baby and can also help you to bond with them. Before babies are able to understand language we often communicate and comfort them through touch. Our natural impulse when our babies are distressed is to comfort them by holding, cuddling and stroking them. Baby massage involves gently stroking each part of your baby’s body in a calm, reassuring and rhythmic way. Some parents may also choose to talk softly or sing/hum to their baby to help in creating a calm and positive experience. 

What are the benefits to baby massage? 

There are lots of benefits to baby massage, some proven through studies and some which are widespread beliefs. Baby massage was originally introduced in neonatal wards around 30 years ago to support development of premature babies.One 2004 study found that babies in intensive care units who were messaged spent less time in hospital, had slightly better scores on developmental tests and has slightly fewer postnatal complications. Today there is a widespread belief that baby massage could increase a mum’s awareness of her baby’s needs and support their early bond. It is also suggested by some parents that it helps improve their baby’s sleep as well as intensifying bond between parent and baby. 

When can I start baby massage? 

There are currently no set guidelines on what the minimum age is to begin baby massage however some babies may find a formal, structured massage too simulating in those early weeks so it is recommended to start with just a gentle, nurturing touch and build up to a formal massage. You may find it helpful to find a local baby massage class which is usually recommended from 6 weeks when their routine is more settled and their behaviour is more predictable in order to not find the class too overwhelming for you both. Another benefit to starting baby massage after 6 weeks when they've had their 6 week doctor check is so that any potential issues such as hip dysplasia have been identified. 

Here is our top tips to help you begin baby massage at home - 

  • choose a time when your baby is content and alert, not tired or hungry as this will make it more likely that your baby will interact with you.
  • try sitting on a soft safe place such as one of our play mats (we would recommend placing a towel on top of the mat for your baby to lay on). 
  • find a comfortable position which gives you good eye contact (remember to ensure your baby is warm enough and theres no over simulating lights or noises).
  • It is up to you whether baby is nappy free however it is recommended that your babies nappy is loose when massaging their tiny tummies. A perfect time to massage can be after bath times or before bed as part of your nightly-wind-down time routine. 
  • Make sure you use oil that is safe for your baby’s skin and if it was to get in their mouth.
  • When massaging your baby’s arms or legs, always support the ankle or wrist with one hand.
  • When massaging your baby’s tummy in a circular motion go clockwise rather than anti-clockwise.
  • If your baby falls asleep or becomes upset stop massaging. 

If your baby doesn't enjoy massage straight away, don't worry! It’s a new experience for you both and all new experiences can take a little getting used to. Try a few minutes at a time and slowly build up as your baby gets used to it.

Here we have provided a link to the 2017 Baby Massage guide written by Helen Carr, an experienced Midwife and Baby Massage instructor we found helpful to begin your baby massage experience -

Don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the time together! 

Love Little Fae