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Baby Massage Guide

A gentle massage, done correctly, can be a useful tool for calming your baby and strengthening your bond. After all, touch is a baby’s main form of communication during the first period of his or her life, and is therefore also the best way to instill them with a sense of piece, security, and of course, love.

In addition, research shows that regular massages can provide numerous physical and emotional health benefits for your baby, Including:

1. Relaxation – massaging the body causes the release of Oxytocin, a neurohormone that induces positive feelings and stress reduction.

2. Better Sleep – The relaxing benefits of massages can help babies sleep better. In fact, a study performed at the University of Washington found that massaging a baby before sleep increases melatonin production (a hormone that helps regulate sleep).

3. Improved Development – according to a study published in the Asian Nursing Research Journal, stimulating the baby’s sense of touch has positive effects on social and psychological development and improves the bond with their parents.

4. Improved health and well-being – massages help increase improve blood circulation and relaxes muscles and therefore can improve digestion, and reduce stomach-aches, gas and acidity.

It is important to mention, however, that you should avoid massaging your baby before he or she is at least one month old!

What is the Best Time for a Baby Massage?

It is recommended to choose a time when your baby is alert, calm and not too full or hungry (you should wait about 45 minutes after and 15 minutes before feeding).

You should also make sure your baby is willing to be massaged – you can ‘ask permission’ by gently touching the belly and ear areas to ascertain whether your baby seems to enjoy the attention or tries to avoid it.

Usually the best time is right after the shower, when the room is at the perfect temperature, and the baby is calm, and clean. In fact, you can do some of the massage during the bath as you wash or shampoo the baby.

Weather you do it during the shower or after, you should always make sure to use gentle products that are designed specifically for babies, such as Alona Shechter’s baby product series that includes baby soap, baby shampoo, and baby moisturizer, all based on a unique, natural herbal formula, made especially for a baby’s sensitive skin.

How to Massage your Baby

At every stage during the massage, make sure to use slow, rhythmic movements that will add a sense of calm and comfort and won’t harm the baby’s delicate body. Also, make sure that your hands are not too cold or hot – you can start by rubbing them together and warming them up along with the soap or lotion you use for the massage.

Now that everything is ready, you can begin:

1. With the soap or lotion, start gently rubbing the baby’s tummy, right under the ribs, using a circular, clockwise motion (which helps digestion)

2. Move on to the legs and use your entire hand to massage each leg and apply a light pressure to the thighs. Then fold and straighten each leg gently.

3. Press each toe gently with your thumb, then press the heel and massage it lightly.

4. Create a circle with your thumb and middle finger and use it to hold the baby’s arm lightly as you gently rub the armpit and arm. Take extra care in gentle areas such as the elbows.

5. Lightly rub the forehead, temples and top of the neck, using gentle strokes in one direction. Continue to the rest of the face including eyebrows, cheeks, nose and ears

6. Finally, place your baby on the stomach and use large, slow movements to massage the head, neck, back and back of the lags. Make sure to always move your hands in one direction and avoid applying too much pressure, especially around the spine.

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