GETTING READY FOR INFANT MASSAGE
When getting ready give your massage to your babies, make sure everything you need is at your fingertips: a pillow; a waterproof pad; two fluffy bath towels; baby oil, vegetable oil, or a specially formulated baby massage oil (make sure it is formulated just for babies as other oils can be too strong and irritating for young skin).
You can set up on the floor or a changing table. Use a soothing soft voice when speaking to your baby and make sure you tell your baby before you touch her, ensuring her of what you plan on doing each step of the way. Build your baby’s tolerance to massage your babies with a few movements lasting only two or three minutes at a time. Within a few weeks, you can work up to twenty minutes and oftentimes, will have an eager, happy baby on your hands!
1. PREPARE THE ROOM FOR INFANT MASSAGE
The temperature in the room should be about 75 degrees, with no drafts. Put on soft music. Your massage area should consist of a waterproof pad placed on top of a pillow, which is then covered by a soft bath towel.
2. PREPARE YOURSELF FOR THIS TIME WITH YOUR BABY
Turn off the ringer and let the phone go to voicemail. Begin by washing your hands and soothing your baby with a soft voice. Use this time to tell her what you plan on doing and how much you’re going to enjoy this special time with her. Put a teaspoon or two of oil in your hands and rub your palms together to warm it.
3. BEGIN WITH THE FEET
Make sure you continue talking to her throughout the massage your babies, letting her know what to expect. The soothing sound of your voice will become a trigger for her relaxation.
4. USE A THUMB-OVER-THUMB MOVEMENT
One thumb should rub upward, taking turns with the other thumb, which moves in the same direction. Gently stroke the sole of the foot, heel towards toe. Delicately squeeze each toe.
Massage the top of the foot towards the ankle, making small circles around the ankle. As you go up the leg, gently use what Blau and Hogg refer to as the “rope twist”: wrap your hands loosely around your baby’s legs. As you move your top hand toward the left, move your bottom hand toward the right, gently and softly massaging her skin and muscles, thereby increasing leg circulation.
5. NEXT, THE STOMACH
Using both thumbs, gently massage your babies from the belly button toward the outside. “Walk” your fingers from the stomach to the chest. Make gentle, sweeping motions outward.
6. MOVING UP
Blau and Hogg suggest making a “sun- and-moon” motion by using both of your index fingers to trace a circle — the “sun” — that starts at the top of your baby’s chest and ends around her belly button.
Now take your right hand and go back up, tracing a “moon” (a backward “c”) up to the top of her chest; then do the same with your left hand (a forward “c”). Repeat this a few times. Then do a heart-shaped movement — with all of your fingers on the chest, at the center of the breastbone, gently trace a heart, ending at her belly button.
7. NOW TO THE ARMS
Use the “rope twist” method, then do open-hand massage on both arms. Delicately roll each finger. Make small circles on the top of each wrist.
8. GENTLY MASSAGE BABY’S FACE
Be extra careful on your baby’s sensitive face when doing an massage your babies. Remember to use your soothing voice as you begin to massage your babies her forehead and eyebrows, and then gently use your thumbs to massage your babies around the eye area. Go down the bridge of your baby’s nose, back and forth across her cheek, from her ears toward her upper and lower lips and then back. Make small circles around the jaw and behind the ears. Rub her earlobes and under her chin. Now gently turn her over.
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9. ROLL OVER!
Once you gently roll your baby over, get ready to make circles on the back of your baby’s head and shoulders. Using a back-and-forth motion, stroke her up and down. Make small circles along with the back muscles and allow your hands to travel the full length of her body, from the top of her back all the way down to the ankles.
10. END YOUR INFANT MASSAGE
Tell your baby how much you love him or her, and how special your time is together. If you begin to repeat these steps, increasing the duration of the massage, your baby will begin to look forward to this experience with you. Never continue with massage your babies if she cries or becomes fussy. If this happens, let a few weeks go by, and then try again for a shorter time. You have the power to acclimate your baby to the joy and healing powers of touch. With this will come a more relaxed baby, and an ability to instantly put your baby at ease. Relax and enjoy!
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