Infant massage is an ancient practice — an Eastern Indian grandmother massaged all her children. More popular than ever, now, it encourages bonding with your baby, relaxes your baby’s muscles, helps to increase circulation, and reduces stress. Research says that newborns who receive a daily massage grow more (in both height and weight) during the first few weeks of life. A plus is, a 15-minute massage at bedtime helps your baby fall asleep faster and sleep better.
How to do it – Rub a drop of oil between your palms and start with baby’s feet, so baby can see what’s happening. Hold your baby’s foot with one hand, while using your other hand to stroke the length of baby’s leg in a gentle, squeezing motion. Use the same stroke on baby’s arms. Once you get to baby’s back and tummy, begin with both hands at the center, then push out lightly as if you were smoothing a crumpled piece of paper.
The Tools of the Trade:
- Stay away from perfumed oils. Use something edible, like coconut or almond oil.
- Keep your baby warm. Cover baby’s tummy with a blanket while massaging other parts, and make sure the room temperature is comfortable.
- Don’t force it. If your baby doesn’t like it, review your technique and try again later.
- Pick the right time. Make sure baby’s not hungry, tired, or ill — and that you’re not in a hurry.