Baby massages are one of the best ways to strengthen the bond between mother and newborn. In addition to this, some studies indicate that massaging the infant helps him sleep better, reduces colic, and can also enhance the child’s immunity, and helps in the development of his motor and mental skills, so this article deals with the best methods and the most important tips for massaging the infant.
First of all, the following things must be taken into account:
1- Baby massage needs a blanket or towel to put the baby on, in addition to baby massage oil.
2- You must make sure that the massage oil does not cause an allergic reaction to the child’s skin, by trying it by placing a drop or two on the child’s skin and waiting for a whole day to ensure that no infections occur.
3- The appropriate time for the massage should be chosen while the child is awake. You should also avoid massaging the baby immediately after feeding, eating food, or when he feels sleepy.
4- The baby is removed from the clothes except for the diaper and put on the blanket or towel. Then the child is prepared for the massage session by gently passing hands across his body from head to feet. If the child cries or is upset, the massage session will be ended and postponed for the next day. But if the child responds to those first touches well, start massaging his body step by step.
* Abdominal massage
1- With the tips of the fingers of the hands, stroke the abdomen in a circular motion in a clockwise direction several times.
2- The child’s left side is stroked from top to bottom several times, then stroking is done from right to left transversely at the end of the ribs with the completion of the stroking movement from top to bottom on the left side in what resembles an inverted (L) letter.
3- The child’s right side is stroked from the bottom to the top, then the movement from the right to the left casually, and the stroking is completed from the top to the bottom on the left side, so that the stroking movement becomes in the form of an inverted (U) letter for several times.
4- Fingers are moved around the navel area in a clockwise direction.
5- Finally, place the entire hand on the abdomen, in a cross-section, with gently shaking the hand from side to side.
* Head and face massage
1- The hands are placed under the child’s head and the scalp is gently massaged using the fingertips, in a manner similar to washing the child’s head with shampoo. Care should be taken to avoid massaging the fontanelle (the slightly tender area at the front of the head).
2- Using the thumb and index fingers, massage the baby’s ears.
3- The hands are stroked around the child’s face in the form of a heart, so that the hands meet at the chin.
4- Place the thumbs between the child’s eyebrows and move gently outwards. Then stroking very gently to the closed eyelids.
5- Massage from the bridge of the nose across the cheeks with the fingers. Then massage the sides of the jaw by moving the fingertips in small circles.
* Chest Massage
1- Place the hands on the infant’s chest and strok gently, starting from the sternum towards the outside to the shoulders.
2- Groping the chest with a heart-shaped movement, starting from the sternum, passing through the shoulders, to meet the hands at the bottom of the sternum.
3- In a cross movement, massage is done diagonally from the right thigh to the left shoulder, then from the right shoulder to the left thigh.
* Massage the arms
1- Grip one of the child’s wrists with one hand gently, and the other hand is shaped like a letter (C) around the upper part of the arm and massage from the shoulder to the wrist.
2- Using the hands one on top of the other, hold the arms and massage gently from shoulder to wrist, so that the hands are wrapped in opposite directions in a movement similar to squeezing a towel very gently.3- The hands are massaged using the two thumbs from the end of the palm up to the fingers. The fingers are then stroked to the tips of the fingers with pressure on the fingers and gently pulled.
4- The wrists are massaged by moving the fingers over them in a circular motion, then the child’s arms are surrounded separately using the hands.
* Back massage
1- The child is placed on his stomach casually above the mother’s legs, so that the child’s arms are in front of him and not next to him.
2- The hands are moved back and forth between the end of the neck and the buttocks in opposite directions. Then grab the buttocks with one hand and massage with the other hand from the neck down to the buttocks.
3- With the tips of the fingers, the massage is done in small circles from top to bottom on the right side of the spine, then from bottom to top on the left side of the spine. Direct pressure on the spine should be avoided.
4- The baby’s shoulders are massaged with small circular motions, then the baby’s buttocks are massaged in large circular motions.
* Legs Massage
1- One of the child’s legs is raised slightly up by holding the ankle, while the leg is comforted by gently touching the upper thigh.
2- Hold one of the child’s ankles with one hand gently, and the other hand is shaped like a letter (C) around the upper part of the leg and massaged from the thigh to the foot.
3- Using the hands one on top of the other, hold the leg and massage gently from the thigh to the foot, so that the hands are wrapped in opposite directions in a movement similar to squeezing a towel very gently.
4- The sole of the foot is massaged using the thumbs from the heel up to the toes. Then stroke the toes all the way to the tips of the feet with pressure on the fingers and pull them very gently.
5- The ankles are massaged by moving the fingers on them in a circular motion, then the child’s legs are surrounded separately using the hands.
** In the end .. you should pay attention that the massage should be done gently, gently, but firmly, without tickling. You should also pay attention to the child’s reactions to the massage to know the child’s restlessness from it and when it should be stopped, as usually the time sufficient to massage the child is about 10 minutes, but it may extend to 30 minutes depending on the mood of the child. Finally, it is recommended that this massage session be part of the daily routine between the mother and her child.