Both paediatricians and grandmas will tell you this. Do not massage a new-born before she is at least three or four months old. The newborn’s skin soon after birth is very weak and cannot take the external pressure.
Different body parts demand different kinds of massage treatments.
Here are a few:
Leg massage: Wrap your hands gently around the baby’s leg, gliding the hands down from thigh to ankle, repeatedly. You can also rub the feet with your thumbs, gently uncurling and stroking the toes.
Belly massage: Place your hands at the level of your baby’s navel and rub your fingertips firmly and gently over her tummy in a circular motion. Make sure that this is not done right after a meal.
Arm massage: Roll your baby’s arm between your hands, starting at her shoulder and moving down all the way to her wrist.
Neck massage: Start with supporting the baby’s head and upper body with one hand, placing the other hand on the side of the baby’s neck. Use your thumb and fingers to massage the neck region in a circular m.
Chest massage: Pushing out your hands from the centre of the baby’s chest outwards by gently applying some force on the central region.
Back massage: Simply stroking and rubbing the baby’s back, side to side or up and down, repeatedly with some oil or lotion.
Face and head massage: Start from the forehead and run your hands down through the entire length of the baby’s face. You can also use your thumb to draw a smile on your baby’s face by stroking from one cheek, across the upper lip to the other cheek.
Here are a few things to watch out for:
- Do not massage your baby when she is hungry or full.
- Do not massage or apply any lotion or cream to areas that have been vaccinated recently.
- Do not put oil in the baby’s ears, nose or eyes as they may cause fungal infections.
At the end of the day, a baby enjoys a good massage just as adults do. Just keep it light, soothing and comfortable.