Baby massage is a special time for you to get to know your baby and relax him/her. The desire to cuddle, touch and massage our babies is instinctive so the best massage routine for you and your baby, is the one you create yourself. Remember baby massage is not just about helping to relax your baby and support his/her sleeping and eating patterns; it’s about teaching love to your baby and creating a secure attachment between you.
Children will reach out and explore when they feel safe. Their sense of safety comes from a nurturing, predictable, calm environment, where adults are attentive and attuned to children’s bids for attention and their basic needs for shelter, warmth, comfort and love are met (Cacioppo & Berntson, 2004).
Remember to check that your baby is happy and healthy before you begin to practice massage & yoga together. Always do a patch test on any oils you are using.
Always ask your baby’s permission before you begin the session and keep checking in with your baby during your practice. Look out for your baby’s cues throughout the massage and listen to what he/she is saying.
Your baby loves to spend time with you and massage and yoga provides the perfect way to communicate love, security and connection. Enjoy!
Babies can recieve gentle touch and stroking from the moment they are born. Newborns are reassured by skin contact and it helps to establish bonds between parent and baby. Many babies and women are traditionally massaged as part of the birthing and post natal period in many cultures around the world. Once your baby is around 8 weeks he/she can start to recieve a slightly longer massage providing there are no underlying medical issues and your baby is happy and healthy. A great time to join a baby massage class is around 8 weeks, once your baby has had a post natal check with your medical professional. If your baby suffers from colic and is under 8 weeks, tummy massage over clothes can be very useful to help relieve wind.
New born skin is delicate so we suggest not using any oils for the first 6 weeks after birth. Massage is good to begin after 8 weeks from birth. Coconut oil is a gentle oil to use or you can consider using an organic sunflower seed oil such as our Blossom & Berry Organic Baby Massage Oil from 8 weeks. This oil is 100% natural and organic, has only a very faint smell, is easily absorbed into the skin, is not harmful if ingested if baby sucks his/her fingers and is packed full of nutrients for baby’s skin. Always do a patch test with the oil before using it. Current guidance advises the avoidance of olive oil on the skin for baby massage. Aromatherapy blends should not be used on new born skin and only with older babies occasionally and with the advice of an aromatherapist.
When your baby is in “quiet alert” state, which is usually after a feed and a sleep. Leave 45 minutes after a feed before you massage if possible. Look for your baby’s relaxed cues and signs to make sure he/she is in the mood for a massage and always ask baby’s permission before you begin.
For as long as your baby is relaxed. Keep checking in with your baby throughout the massage to make sure he/she is still happy to continue. You know your baby better than anyone so stop when you feel he/she has had enough. Massage is a great time to learn about your baby’s cues and encourage positive interactive, play and comminucation. It is better to massage for one minute with a happy baby than carry on when baby has had enough.
Don’t worry, its just your baby communicating with you. He/She may prefer to change posistion, have a nap, feed or enjoy a cuddle. Always take the lead from your baby in massage and be responsive to his/her needs. Its through respect for his/her comunication that he/she learns that the world is a place that is gentle and supportive. You can always try later. Little and often is always best with babies and with baby massage.
In a safe place free from any hazzards. On the floor is a great place to massage but be mindful of your back. Keep lights low and the room warm if you are removing clothes. Turn off your phone and try to give your baby your undivided attention or if you have older children they can come and watch and join in.
In short, whenever he/she would like a massage. Skin contact and massage is crucially important for babies so any massage is likely to be beneficial. Try and work a little massage time into everyday. Always try and look for the best time to massage your baby. Often doing massage after a bath can lead to a shorter session as baby masy be tired, hungry or overstimulated already.
You will need to be flexible and take the lead from him/her. The need for touch and massage does not diminish just because baby becomes more physically independent. Children enjoy positive touch, massage and intercative at all ages. You may just need to incorporate songs, music, movement and toys. Our Learn, Stretch & Play courses provide a good mix of all these aspects for older babies.