How to massage your baby
Massaging your baby is great for bonding, and it could also help them sleep better.
PICK YOUR TIME
You’re aiming for a relaxing experience for both of you, so it’s probably best to avoid a moment when your tot (or you, actually) is either tired or hungry – no one can massage a grumpy baby. Right after bathtime is a good option – baby is already naked and it can become part of the whole bedtime routine. A relaxed and happy baby is far more likely to sleep well.
If you’ve just got baby out of a bath they could get cold quickly, so make sure the room’s warm enough (24OC), and keep a blanket or towel near in case they need a cover-up. Also, you might want to dim the lights and maybe even put on a bit of relaxing music (we’re getting a bit Zen now).
IT’S OIL RIGHT
One you’ve got baby comfy and relaxed, choose an edible and unperfumed oil (especially before they reach three months), and warm it between your palms before applying it to your baby’s skin. Nothing will end a session quicker than cold oil placed on your tot’s chest.
GENTLY DOES IT
You’re dealing with a tiny person, so this is not the time to perfect locker-room massage skills more suited to a rubgy player. You should be firm, gentle but not ticklish, and work out from the centre of baby’s body, say from shoulders to fingers, and balance your movements – once you’ve done one leg, do the other next.
BUILD IT UP
When you start, just aim for about a five-minute session, building up gradually to longer sessions. And look for signs that your baby is enjoying it – if they start to squirm or seem unhappy, stop and try again the next day. With any luck, as you both get used to it you will find your tot starts to smile or even laugh as you massage them. Namaste!