You don’t have to be a professional massage therapist to express your love to your baby through your touch. A leisurely massage is a perfect way to spend some quality time with your little one, especially after baths or at bedtime.
Benefits of massage for babies
Babies love the warm and reassuring touch of an adult caregiver and research has shown that babies who receive more human contact grow up to be more confident and secure individuals. Massage also creates a strong bond between parent and child because your child gets undivided attention from you. As your baby grows into a toddler, a child and then a teenager, a regular massage routine will help him develop a healthy self-image.
On the physiological front, massages can increase lung capacity, thus enhancing oxygen supply to cells, it is said that massage also boosts the immune system. For active little babies who do so much every day, massages are a fun way to assist the growing process. If your baby is tired or hyperactive, a soothing massage will calm down the nervous system and help him relax. A gentle tummy rub will stimulate baby’s digestive system and alleviate problems such as colic, flatulence, constipation or diarrhea.
Aromatherapy massage techniques for babies
It is natural for parents to touch, stroke and cuddle their babies which makes the process of massaging all the more easy. Put a few drops of the selected massage oil blend of onto warm hands and spread it across your palms. Then carry out the following movements:
Feet and Legs: Apply firm yet gentle upward strokes on the outside of the legs (towards baby’s hips) without applying too much pressure on the delicate bones and joints. Rub some oil on the underside of the feet to warm them up.
Tummy: Soft, circular movements across the abdomen aid digestion and are relaxing for your baby.
Scalp and forehead: Babies often have trouble sleeping even when they are very tired. Use your fingers to apply gentle circular strokes across the scalp, temples and forehead. Your baby will slowly calm down and drift off to sleep. If your baby is not very distracted, you can try doing this with your free hand while breastfeeding.
Back: Start at your baby’s buttock with your hands in a triangle shape. Perform gently strokes moving up baby’s back. Massage shoulders and return gently down the sides of baby’s back. Repeat three times.
Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your massage time:
- If time is a problem, you may give your baby “mini massages” throughout the day – massage the tummy at one time and do the back at another. Diaper changes are a good opportunity to rub those tiny legs that have been kicking around all day. You can encourage this habit by keeping small bottles of massage oil handy in different areas of your home.
- While massaging your baby, be sure to maintain a complete and consistent contact between your hands and your child’s body. This will comfort your baby and encourage a bond of trust between you and him.
- It is important that you maintain a positive state of mind as you can easily transfer negative feelings like anger, frustration and nervousness to your baby. Leave all your worries behind and lose yourself in the moments. If your baby is not in the mood for a massage, don’t force him – you can always try another time! With a little practice and patience, you will soon figure out what works best for your baby.
Which oil is best for baby massage?
Here are some ideas for you:
Tummy Taming Oil: Introduction of solid and semi-solid foods can sometimes cause flatulence and indigestion in babies. Mix 30 ml (1 oz) Carrier Oil with 3 drops of Mandarin and 3 drops of Marjoram essential oils and massage the tummy area with circular movements several times a day. To provide more comfort, apply a warm towel on the abdomen after the massage to provide quicker relief. This blend is also very helpful for colicky babies.
Anti-Cold and Anti-Congestion Oil: Mix 30 ml (1 oz) Carrier Oil with 5 drops of Immune Support Essential Oil and massage baby’s feet, chest and back to relieve a stuffy nose and chest congestion. The blend also enhances the body’s natural immunity and prepares it to fight infections more effectively.
Cradle Cap Clearing Oil: A blend of 30 ml (1 oz) Carrier Oil, 3 drops of Cedarwood oil and 3 drops of Lavender oil is very effective against cradle cap. Massage your baby’s scalp with this blend several times a day.
Quick Healing Oil: As babies learn to crawl and explore their surroundings, minor injuries become an everyday thing. You can keep a quick-fix handy for bumps and bruises by mixing 30ml (1 oz) Carrier Oil with 3 drops Helychrisum Essential Oil, 3 drops Frankincense Essential Oil and 3 drops Lavender Essential Oil, Apply liberally on the affected area.
By using these customized aromatherapy blends, you too can gift good health and happiness to your precious little one. After all, few things can replace the goodness of nature!
© 2012, Cristina Proano-Carrion, Aromandina LLC
This information is based on traditional use of aromatherapy and it does not intend to diagnose or treat any condition. This information should not be used as a substitute for medical counseling with a health care professional. No part of this article may be reproduced in whole or in part without the explicit written permission of Aromandina.