From day one, babies want to feel secure, safe, warm, and comforted. After all, they were evicted from the only home they’ve ever known, the womb. Actually, babies crave touch after birth. Which is why most hospitals, midwives and birth intructors encourage skin to skin contact immediately after birth. Our littles learn very early on the association between mothers touch and feelings of love, comfort and safety.

I’ve been a masseuse for 14 years and I am honored to share my passion and knowledge about infant massage and its benefits. Plus, who doesn’t love grabbing handfuls of baby chub!? So, first…

Why Infant Massage?

  • Promotion of bonding and attachment
  • Verbal/non-verbal communication
  • Development of trust
  • Development of all of the sense

Infant Massage May Stimulate

  • Circulatory and digestive systems
  • Hormonal and immune systems
  • Coordination and balance
  • Learning and concentration
  • Muscular development and growth
  • Mind and body awareness

Parents May Find that Infant Massage Helps Relieve

  • Gas and colic
  • Constipation and elimination issues
  • Growing pains and muscular tension
  • Teething discomfort
  • Cramps

The Massage Promotes Relaxation, Which May be Shown Through

  • Improved sleep patterns
  • Increased joint and muscle flexibility
  • Regulation of behavioral states
  • Being calm and a sort of self-soothing capability
  • Reduction in stress hormones

Infant massage

How to use infant massage in your routine

Babies thrive on routine, if you haven’t already noticed. They start to get their own rythm to life with feeding, sleeping and wake time. It’s important to know when is the right time to massage your baby. If they are very tired, hungry or over-stimulated; it might not be the best time to try and massage. I like to do it right after a bath in the evening, before bed time. This lets them know that bed time is coming and, starts to help them find their night time sleep rythm. This is especially beneficial if your baby is having a hard time differentiating between day and night.

Infant massage

How to massage your infant

Start with your favorite lotion or baby oil, making sure your baby is not allergic to it. You may choose to use small amounts of essential oils, (I use lavender because, yum!). But, keep in mind that baby’s skin and sense of smell are very sensitive. I like to have a small space heater near by. Little babies can have a hard time regulating their body tempurature. Keep the space warm but not too hot.

  • Start by warming up the lotion in your hands
  • Apply lotion with palms to babies tummy, arms, legs and feet
  • Work your hands in a clockwise motion around babies tummy, this helps promote digestion
  • Using both hands grab around the ankle, twist and push down towards hips. Trade off hands, gently working the muscles. Use this same technique for arms.
  • Using thumbs, gently massage babies feet in small circles.
  • Turn baby over onto their tummy and apply lotion to the back. Work from tail bone up the spine and out towards the shoulders. Gently covering the whole back.

Infant massage

Above all, if baby gets fussy during the massage and you feel it is no longer beneficial; stop the massage and try again later or the next day. Baby will learn to relax right into the rythm and know that mom’s touch is loving and soothing for them. As baby grows, you can add more strokes. Be patient with it and enjoy the bonding that infant massage can bring. Now snuggle that yummy baby and breathe in that delicious lavender sweetness! Go try it!

So, what have you noticed in your baby when you are massaging?

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Andrea Tao

Andrea Tao

My name is Andrea Tao. I live on the surface of the sun in southern Arizona. I have been married for 13 years and have 6 (yes 6) kids. I am a massage therapist by trade and a total hippy. Hobbies include watercolor painting, fitness, gardening and mommin hard. Pregnancy and infant loss awareness advocate. Wrote a children's book about miscarriage a few years ago after a loss and it changed my life. Love seeing the humorous side of parenting and try to be as sarcastic as I can. Laughing my way through momhood!
Andrea Tao

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4 Comments on Infant Massage: The Power of Touch

  1. JeNae Olson
    September 18, 2017 at 1:47 PM (3 months ago)

    I have never tried infant massage with any of my babies. This article makes infant massage sound like something that would enrich a babies nighttime routine and is definitely something I would like to try with my next baby. Great article.

    Reply
  2. Katie Bazyk
    September 18, 2017 at 2:15 PM (3 months ago)

    What a great article! I was searching for anything to help a colicky baby and this article was very helpful! Easy to understand and I’m glad it comes from a good source. I will be trying this soon!

    Reply
  3. Rachel Price
    September 20, 2017 at 12:05 AM (3 months ago)

    What a great article. I used to do this with my son and I stopped. He is now 15 months and I am going to start back tomorrow night after bath time.

    Reply
  4. anne kathryn
    October 4, 2017 at 11:38 AM (2 months ago)

    This article is reminding me of how important touch is, and how I need a massage, too… digestion, sleep, immune system.. if we only treated ourselves as well as we treat our babies!

    Reply

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