As new parents, we all love exploring our new little one’s sweet newborn body. We kiss and caress and do all those new mom things!
Massage can be added to your daily routine to enhance that connection. There is something special about setting aside a few minutes to give purposeful touch to your baby. You and your child will look forward to it.
Find a time during the day or evening when your baby is in a happy mood. We always included it in our bedtime routine. Follow these simple steps.
*Undress your baby down to diaper. Wrap in a blanket. Expose just their belly.
Look into your baby’s eyes and say, “Would you like a massage today?” While they don’t know what you are saying yet, they hear the love and inflection in your voice and by hearing it regularly they will begin to recognize what is about to happen. My babies always got so excited!
Look for clues. If your baby is happy and keeps eye contact and eventually smiles back, it is a go. If they divert their eyes, arch their back, even put their hands in the air as is saying no, back up, then maybe that is not the right time.
Use an oil or lotion of your choice. It can be as basic as coconut oil. Dab just a bit on your fingertips and then rub your fingers together just above their nose. This is their second clue about what is coming.
Place one hand on their hip to show gentle but firm pressure. It acts as an anchor that makes them feel safe and secure. Then take your other hand and place your finger tips at the top of the opposite shoulder and gently pull your hand down their chest to their hips. Repeat 3-4x. Repeat on the other side. Remembering to anchor the opposite hip.
*When they are ready you can place them on their belly and repeat this on their back.
During the massage remember to check in with them. Ask them how it feels. Here are some suggested phrases to say.
“Does that feel good?”
“You are doing so well.”
“Oh yes, that feels so nice doesn’t it!”
Finally when you are finished, thank them for letting you give them a massage!
There are many ways you can massage your baby. This is just a good basic way to get started!
This type of massage can carry over into later years. We still give our kids (ages 4, 6, 8, 11) a nice rub down before bed. It just begins to look different as they age. One of my kids likes to be snuggled under his sheet and I do nice strokes down his back and legs. My other daughter likes for me to gently rub her arm.
Have fun with it. You can make up your own routine!
About the Author
Caroline O’Neill, of Body Birth and Baby, has been a massage therapist since 2007. Caroline specializes in Fertility and Prenatal/Postpartum Massage. She is passionate about supporting women on their path to motherhood. Caroline also has been a HypnoBirthing Instructor since 2012. She lives in Leesburg, Virginia with her husband and 4 children.