Massage For Babies

By Anna Lynn Sibal

Did you know that massage is just as enjoyable and beneficial to babies as it is to adults? Many proponents of complementary and alternative therapies are now recommending for massage to be administered to babies.

Just like in adults, massage will help an infant relax and sleep better. It also improves the baby’s circulation, which aids in enhancing health, and can also help the baby digest his or her food much easier. Most of all, massage strengthens the bond between the baby and the adult who gives the massage to him or her.

Below is a step-by-step guide to giving babies a massage.

1. Lay the baby on his or her back and then begin work on the face. With light and gentle strokes, massage the forehead with your fingers going outward to the temples. Afterwards, proceed from the nose to the ears, and then from the cheeks down to the chin.

2. Place your hands on the baby’s chest and rub your hands upward and then going outward to the arms.

3. Stroke the baby's belly, around the navel in particular, in a clockwise direction. After that, gently wring the baby’s belly and work your way upward.

4. Raise the baby's arm and stroke it with both hands from the shoulder to the wrist. Squeeze the baby’s hand and then rub the palm with your thumb. Remember to rub and rotate each finger.

5. Wring the baby's legs, one at a time, and then squeeze each leg starting from the ankle to the thigh. As you go back down to the ankle, make the return stroke as feather-light as possible.

6. Gently lay the baby on his or her stomach and begin stroking the back. As with the chest, move your hands upward and then out towards the arms. Knead the shoulders lightly.

7. Massage the baby’s buttocks by pinching or kneading.

8. Lightly rub your hands along the spine of the baby, starting from the neck to the tailbone.

9. Glide your fingers along the legs. To massage the baby's feet, bend the leg at the knee and clasp the ankles. Slowly rotate the foot, and then rotate and pull at the toes. Squeeze the baby’s heel and then rub your thumb along the arch and sole. Repeat these with the other foot.

10. End the massage by letting your fingers glide from the baby’s head, down to the toes.

Massage is good for the baby's well-being. If you do this to your baby on a regular basis, you will find it an enjoyable way to bond with your baby. However, always remember to keep your touch on the baby’s skin gentle and feather-light. Warm your hands first before starting the massage. The baby may squirm a lot so you just have to keep patient with him or her. If the baby is showing discomfort at what you are doing, just end the massage. Avoid doing this if the baby is a little feverish, because massage may make the fever worse, or if the baby has just eaten.

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