As I sat in a doctor’s waiting room recently, I heard the unmistakable sound of a distressed baby – most likely as tired of waiting as the rest of us.
Glancing over I watched as the baby’s mother calmly took a small bottle of moisturiser from her bag, squeezed some onto her fingers and began massaging her baby’s hands.
Within seconds, silence had returned. It was quite remarkable watching this tiny baby quite visibly calm down and noticeably relax.
I’ve since been massaging my baby girl following her nightly bath and watching the pure delight on her face is quite priceless.
According to Women’s Health Physiotherapist and Director of BeActive, Shira Kramer, there are numerous benefits to baby massage for both mother and baby.
For parents, Shari says baby massage increases confidence in handling your baby, encourages bonding and improves your ability to settle and relax your baby.
It can also improve lactation through the production of prolactin.
And you don’t have to be a baby massage expert in order to reap these benefits.
Ideally, create a peaceful environment – making sure baby is warm – apply a massage oil or moisturiser and gently massage your baby using long, firm strokes.
According to the creator of GAIA Natural Baby Michelle Vogrinec, it’s best to avoid using oils which are meant for adult use or adult massage – these aren’t suitable for babies.
Instead, choose an oil which is free from petrochemicals, mineral oil, and artificial fragrances or heavy scents.
“A natural edible plant-based oil, as recommended by the Infant Massage Association, is best,” says Michelle.
You can also use a natural moisturiser as a non-greasy alternative to oil.
After baby’s bath is an ideal time to incorporate baby massage into your nightly routine.
Michelle suggests popping on some soothing music and spending a few minutes gently massaging your oil or moisturiser into baby’s skin then slowly getting baby dressed, helping bub relax and prepare for a peaceful night’s sleep.