baby-massageWhat does massage do?

Massage should be enjoyable for both parent and baby. The benefits of massage are many and varied:

  1. Learning to know each other
  2. Communication
  3. Helping the baby to feel safe and loved
  4. Stimulation of different body systems (immune system, circulation, digestion)
  5. Enhancing development (encourages movement and coordination)
  6. Can be a valuable tool in promoting weight gain in babies, particularly premature babies
  7. Helping parents and baby to learn to trust and have confidence in each other

When should I massage?

  • Each family needs to find the time that suits them best
  • It is best to wait 20 minutes or so after a feed but not too close to sleep time
  • Do not massage your baby if they have the hiccups or are upset
  • Some families massage after bath time as many young babies dislike being undressed and dressed


When should I massage?

There are many recognised techniques and sequences used in baby massage. After a bath or before sleep, one relaxation method would be;

  1. Begin with baby’s feet.
  2. Use your thumb to lightly circle the soles of the feet, gently squeezing and releasing your baby’s toes one by one. Gently move one hand off your baby’s leg and onto the other leg, then move your second hand over so as not to break the flow of fluid movement. Continue to massage the other leg.
  3. Use firm but gentle and slow strokes, as this is the type of touch that relaxes. Some babies, especially very young babies, may only want you to massage their feet to begin with and this is OK
  4. Move slowly up the lower leg to the thigh and across the hips.
  5. Then try putting both hands on the baby’s shoulders and stroking from the shoulders towards the middle of the chest.
  6. Turn the baby onto its tummy to massage the back, from the centre toward the shoulders.
  7. Go back to the feet or stop the massage if the baby shows any sign of being uncomfortable.

There are also therapeutic benefits to massage. Constipated babies or babies with colic respond to abdominal massage. Asthmatic babies or babies that suffer with croup respond well to chest massage. If you would like more information on these types of massages please ring one of our Physiotherapists today.