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Baby Massage Tips

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 11:00am
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Our experts have developed this list of tips to help you when you’re using baby massage. Remember, it’s best to learn baby massage techniques from a certified Baby Massage Instructor.

  • You can start infant massage at one month of age for only 10 to 15 minutes while watching your baby's cues. Be cautious with babies who are ultra sensitive. You may have to wait until your baby is older to start. A few babies may be so sensitive to touch that they will never be able to stand massage.
  • The best time to massage your baby is during the "quiet, alert" state which is when your baby is relaxed with his eyes open and making lots of eye contact.
  • Some babies may not enjoy massage the first time. Your baby may be tired or hungry, or may have a full stomach. Your baby may also be reacting to this new experience. Try gentle strokes, gentle tones or singing may help your baby relax. If your baby is still upset, try again later.
  • It's OK if your baby really doesn't enjoy massage. Some babies need to wait until they are older.
  • Know that not all babies will enjoy massage, no matter how wonderful your skills.
  • If you are using massage oil, make sure it is safe and edible as little hands and feet end up in baby's mouth. Oils, such as grape seed or safflower can be used. Oils and lotions made just for babies can also be used.
  • Often babies will spontaneously urinate the first time they experience massage, so be prepared just in case!
  • Don't wear any jewelry that may scratch your baby.
  • Your baby should be completely naked or wearing only a diaper when being massaged; make sure the room is warm enough.
  • Talk gently to your baby, or maybe sing her favorite songs as you massage, and listen to your baby "talking" back.
  • Establish a routine. Put aside 15 minutes every day for infant massage and try to do it at a more quiet time in your baby's day
  • Choose a time when your baby isn't too hungry and when you aren't rushed.
  • Ask your baby's permission before beginning to massage; this helps to promote healthy touch. For example, "Taylor, is it okay if I give you a massage?"
  • Look for cues that would indicate your baby does not wish to be massaged, such as turning their head away, stiffening or pushing away.
  • Have fun!

Sources: Tina Holden, Child, Youth & Family Consultant, British Columbia.
Jill Vyse, Massage Therapist, International Association of Infant Massage, Canadian Chapter.

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