Newborn Massage: What to Know & How to Do It Safely

Newborn Massage: What to Know & How to Do It SafelyA baby crying for a certain period of time and not wanting to sleep equates to the parents also not being able to sleep. At the core of it, successfully putting your baby to sleep means you also get to climb into your cosy bed and sleep soundly! One of the most effective ways you can make your baby sleep through the night is by massaging them.

          A sense of touch is always great in helping babies to develop, so why not make full use of that particular benefit? What will a massage do for your little one? It will give you the opportunity to bond with your baby, at the very least. Massage can soothe your baby and calm them down. There are a lot more a massage can do for your baby, but we’ll save some for below so do read up. We will also be sharing the proper step-by-step with you and answering your questions regarding newborn massage!

Can you massage a newborn?

As long as you do it properly, yes you can! A newborn massage consists of gentle, rhythmic stroking of your baby’s body with your palms. You need to maintain gentle and soft touches without pressing any body parts with strong pressure. Use oil so your hands can glide smoothly over their skin and reduce the risk of friction which can irritate them.

Is it good to massage a newborn?

Certainly! Given that your baby does not have skin issues or other problems that may be worsened by a massage, you can definitely massage them. Maintain light pressure throughout the whole massage process. That said, do refer to your doctor if you are not 100% certain that your baby can be massaged. 

Massage can calm your baby down and make them feel sleepy easily. It improves circulation and aids digestion for them. To some extent, massage can reduce their crying. While the actual causes of colic are not known, many mothers believe massaging helps reduce the risk of their baby getting colic!

You May Also Read this : Is Newborn Massage Safe? 7 Things to Take Note of!

When can you massage your newborn?

There is no one answer that will suit all newborns, but it is wise to avoid massaging them when they are under one month old. Still, you should introduce soft and lingering touches to your baby from the moment they were born.

In regards to when is the best time throughout the day to massage a newborn, the time differs for every baby. Yours will let you know when would be the most suitable time for them. For a start, you can start massaging them before or after a bath.

Should you massage newborn before or after bath?

Either way is fine and most of the times is baby-led. You can try massaging them on different days at different timing and observe which one is preferred more by your little one. To not overstimulate them with the massage, it is advisable that you do not separate bath and massage.

What are the benefits of newborn massage?

One of the recognised effects of massage for newborns is that it can boost your baby’s brain development. Babies can learn and develop remarkably from touches. By gentling caressing your baby’s skin, you are stimulating their senses and this helps make them more aware of their surroundings. Massage can effectively relieves pains and indigestion, thus promoting better sleep for babies.

Which oil is best for a newborn baby massage?

          Babies normally have more sensitive skin compared to adults. Hence, it is best to stick with oils that are organic and safe. Get ones that contain less chemical ingredients as those can cause dryness or irritation. Opt for the warm, unscented kinds of oil that can promote relaxation for your infant. Some of the best oils for newborns are avocado oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil, and sunflower oil.

          Some experts would suggest vegetable or plant-based oils that absorb quickly, but research finds very little evidence that proves different oils have varying absorbency levels. If your baby tends to suck on their thumbs, make sure to quickly put on their clothes afterwards. This will prevent their fingers from lingering on their belly and picking up the oil.

Do’s:

  • Consult the doctor or nurse beforehand to get their green light on the massage
  • Prepare a proper setting. Place your infant on a sturdy surface with a matt layered on it, like a changing table.
  • Play soft, calming music
  • Maintain a soft pressure & light touch

Don’ts:

  • Avoid massaging them when they are under one month old
  • Do not perform if they have a fever or is visibly experiencing discomfort
  • Do not massage over a wound or incision. Instead, massage around the area
  • Do not use scented lotion at least until your baby is 3 months old

Steps:

Warm up

  1. Before you begin massaging your little one, make sure they are in a calm state.
  2. Warm the oil using your palm and gently rub it on your baby’s tummy and behind their ears to get them used to the feel.
  3. Bend your elbows so there won’t be huge pressure coming from your arms (compare the pressure of your hands when straightening your arms versus bending your elbows).

Legs 

  1. You may start once your baby is ready. Using your thumb, make circles on your baby’s heels while moving towards the toes.
  2. Slowly stroke their ankles, moving up the thighs.

Tummy 

  1. Use the lightest pressure to stroke the belly and below the chest.
  2. Make several gentle strokes in clockwise circular motion across the abdomen, all the while avoiding belly button.

Chest 

  1. Stroke from the shoulders moving inwards towards the chest several times.
  2. Place your hands on the centre of your baby’s chest and gently rub towards the left and right sides. 
  3. Stroke outwards across the chest, almost as if creating a heart shape.

Arms 

  1. Make circular strokes on the palms.
  2. Gently stroke the hands, moving towards the tips of the fingers. 
  3. Continue stroking the forearms and upper arms in circular motions.

Head 

  1. With your thumbs placed on the centre of your baby’s forehead, stroke gently across their eyebrow lines.
  2. Move the strokes towards the nose line to cheeks and finally towards the ears.
  3. Massage the scalp like you are shampooing them.

Back 

  1. Turn your baby around and carefully put them on their tummy.
  2. Place your arms on the lower back and make an ‘M’ motion.
  3. Gently rub the side of the upper spine downwards to the buttock.

End 

  1. Repeat the massage on the back several times for as long as your baby remains calm.
  2. Your strokes should get gradually gentler until you eventually stop.

          At PNSG, our massage therapists are trained to perform massage on not only to-be and new mothers, but also on newborns. They will be personally sharing the knowledge and steps of a proper new born baby massage with you. Since it would pretty much be a one-to-one demonstration, you can ask them everything you’d like to know then and there as they are teaching you!