Thursday, 14 August 2014

Baby Massage

Baby Massage


My mum first introduced the practice of baby massage to me years ago when she learnt and then practiced on me in my teens!! Makes no sense but it was a fun evening of pampering at the time! From then I have tried it occasionally on our kids, usually after a bath and when they are nice and relaxed. It was most useful with them as newborns, especially when there skin got quite dry after birth and would peel like sunburn. Both our kids had dry skin so we found ourselves routinely rubbing olive oil over them to help moisturise their skin. We were told to use olive oil by the midwife at the time instead of branded and perfumed oils.

Now if the kids or I have dry skin we use pure coconut oil which has many healing properties and is amazing for your skin. I used it a lot for massaging my pregnant tummy on those days when your skin feels really tight, and I came out with no stretch marks on my tummy and very fair ones on my thighs.

Baby massage is said to be great for allowing parent child bonding, especially with dads that can sometimes not get a chance to have the closeness of the skin to skin contact a mother can have. It is also great for physical development with moving and manipulating toes and fingers, ankles and wrists. Most of all it allows great relaxation and can lead to good sleep patterns.

I thought I would do a session with the kids after bath time today to show you how it can help them relax.

I did a quick google search and found babycenter.co.uk very helpful. They explain how it helps babies, especially new ones and gives step by step instructions into how to give a baby massage.

I have read that, and with my own knowledge and experience, this is how I would do it.

Make sure your baby is happy, if they are crying or hungry this will not work. Like I said, after bath time is great as it can be part of the bedtime process. Make sure they have had a nice warm bath and that their room is warm so you don't need to rush to dress them. With newborns you may want a blanket so your can cover their chest while you do the legs and then swap to cover the legs while you do their chest. Use your common sense, if they appear uncomfortable, make a change.

It is important that every action is gentle, this is not a sports injury massage!! You will know your child and what they need, Raphael will obviously need a lot more motion than Giulietta as their bodies are a different size and the pressure can be spread differently.

Start with the feet and legs. Warm the oil between your palms and slowly, in circular motions rub it on their feet and move up the legs. You can hold their foot with one hand as you rub the calves and up onto the thighs. They may like you to rub their toes and the soles of there feet. You can use your thumb and first finger to do this.

Moving onto the childs tummy babycentre.co.uk explains it better than I could. They say,
"For your baby's chest and tummy, gently place both hands flat against the centre of her body. Spread your hands to the sides, as if flattening the pages of a book.
With your hands still flat, use your fingertips to stroke outward in small circles." This gives you a better image in your head than I think I could have given you!!

Once you have done their tummy and chest, do not go up to the face, it is not necessary and can cause a young baby stress.

I like to go down the arms to the hands and fingers and give them a small massage in circular motions over the back and palms and the down each finger.

In toddlers You can do their back, Raph loves having his back rubbed, but not all children would like this. Etta isn't a fan of lying on her tummy so I wouldn't do her back. You will know with your own child.

For a baby back massage, you do not need any pressure. I find long strokes, from the bottom of his back upwards and over his shoulders is plenty.

Through the massage you will find that you will run out of oil. Do not use loads, but keep your hands covered to the point that you can glide over the babies skin and not get any friction. This should be a perfect amount.

Please don't continue any action if it distresses your child. You as parents should recognise the signs that say, "I love that" or " I hate that".

Don't let this stress you. This should relax both child and parent. If you only get the feet done as they are being to wriggly then you have achieved a lovely foot massage! Move as they allow you and I am sure you will have some lovely bonding time with your child.

Post by Emily

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