Massage is very helpful for the healthy development of bones of your baby. It also strengthens the bonds between you and your baby. Pediatric research has shown that babies born prematurely make much quicker progress when given regular massage.
The best time to massage your baby is just after his or her bath when he or she is not feeling hungry or irritable. Make sure the room is nice and warm and perhaps perfume it gently with a vaporizer and one of the relaxing aromatherapy oils.
You will find it easiest to work sitting on the floor, legs outstretched with the baby lying on your legs. This means he or she is reassured by the warmth of your skin. Make sure you feel comfortable before you start and if necessary, prop yourself up with a couple of cushions.
You need to remove any jewelry and warm your hands and the oil prior to massage. Use a blend of 4 fl oz (100 ml) of sweet almond oil to which you have added two drops of any of the following – camomile oil, rose oil, lavender oil, neroli oil. Now you are ready to begin.
Baby massage step by step
• Start with your baby lying against your legs on his or her back so he or she can look up at you.
• Stroke gently down his arms then his legs, repeating each movement five or six times.
• Circle round his tummy using the flat of your hand in an anti clockwise direction (this is very calming),
• Stretch out his toes one by one then gently rub over the soles of his feet using your thumb.
• Uncurl his fingers then gently move each one clockwise then anti clockwise. Now rub over the palms of his hands with your thumb.
Turn your baby over to lie on his tummy against your legs.
• Gently rub a little oil into his back, bottom, legs and feet using long light strokes.
• Stroke down his back giving a little squeeze at the buttocks. Repeat five or six times.
• Gently stroke round his shoulders down his arms and off at his hands.
• Gently stroke down his legs several times. Each time finish by giving his legs a little stretch by pulling gently at the ankles.
• Finish by stroking gently down his back and legs in one movement. Repeat, getting lighter with each stroke, until your hand just glides over your baby without actually touching him.
Gently turn your baby on to his back so he can see you again.
• Gently stroke a little oil (the surplus on your hands should be enough) on to his face. Lightly stroke up his forehead several times.
• With your thumbs stroke across his cheeks then down his nose and chin. Do each movement several times.
• Gently squeeze and rub his ear lobes between your fingers and thumb.
• Finish off with a connecting stroke. With one hand cradling your baby’s head, stroke gently down his body with the other and bring it to rest on top of his feet. Hold this position (one hand on the head, the other on the feet) for a count of ten. Gently release and lift off your hands.