Preparation for baby massage
Choose a moment in which you and your child are relaxed and calm. A half hour after the baby has eaten is recommended.
Be sure that the room temperature is warm (78 degrees Fahrenheit). Undress the baby completely, if the weather is cold or humid cover the areas of the baby's body that are not being massaged.
Put the baby on a soft surface so your baby will feel comfortable and secure. Keep some little pillows handy.
It is a good idea to put some cream on your hands and rub them together so they will be soft and warm.
Basically the massage flows from the head to the toes. With soft and gentle touches you will work on the head, face, shoulders, arms, chest, stomach and legs.
While you massage your baby look tenderly at him/her. Doing this you stimulate all the senses of the baby and establish a more intense visual and tactile communication. Feel free to speak to your baby, do not inhibit yourself.
Remember that your touches should be tender do not make mechanic motions. Try to be flexible by not keeping a rigid routine.
If the baby wants to change position let them do so. Do not force your baby to keep a position, you can go back to these areas later on.
Pressure to use:
Close your eyes and press your eyelids. The pressure you should use is the same as pressing your eyelids without any discomfort.
In the small areas use your fingertips. In bigger areas use the palm of your hand. "Little strokes" mean to touch your baby's skin gently and "massage" is to softly move the muscles under the skin.
Step by Step Description
Touch the forehead, temples and the base of the cranium
Eyebrows and eyelids
The area around the mouth
Ears and surrounding area
The frontal part of the neck
(Remember doing this very gently)
Make small strokes and massage the posterior part of the neck with slow movements down to the shoulders.
Softly put both hands on his/her shoulders. Caress the baby from the neck to the shoulders in the direction of his chest.
Shoulders and arms:
Form a ring with your fingers and thumb around your child's arm. Begin to caress around the armpit and then go down along the arm. Be very careful when you arrive at the elbow, it is a very sensitive region.
In the wrist you can gently practice turning motions using. Remember to take great care with all these motions.
Massage the stomach in a circular way (the genitalia area is excluded from the massage). Caress the abdomen moving your hands clockwise beginning below the ribs.
Caress each leg with your whole hand, press gently on the thighs. Slightly flex the legs and knees pressing the thighs gently against the body.
Heels and feet:
A foot massage is very relaxing. Begin by putting a soft pressure on each toe, then the foot and return to the toes again. Sometimes a foot massage can help reduce stomach pain. Caress gently all the toes. Apply circular movements at the heels.
Turn your baby around.
Begin with large and slow movements that include head, neck, back and legs always in one direction.
Give your baby soft strokes on the shoulders and back and massaging with your fingertips with circular movements. Do not massage the spinal cord, only put your hands over it and let the baby feel the warm sensation. You can even make small circular movements on your baby's back.
Put your hands at the top of the legs and begin gently caressing while working your way down towards the foot.
When you arrive to the feet start again from the top. With soft and slow movements finish the massage starting once again at the head and back to the toes.
Repeat these exercises when you want to have a few special moments with your baby.
Do them when you have adequate time for you and your child.
Do not feel impatient if the baby does not cooperate...simply try again later.
Finally: There are many ways to express your love to your baby, this is ONLY ONE of them...
From the book "Hola Familia" Hello Family
Reproduced with author permission