I teach baby massage in small group classes, in 1-2-1 sessions with mums and babies in their homes and through my online course Soothe Baby Soothe.
There are lots of questions that come up regularly that I thought I would address in a single blog post. So here we go - five common baby massage FAQs (and their answers too!)
Q: What’s the best time to massage my baby?
A: It’s whatever is the best time of the day for you both to connect and relax, but as a guide it’s around 40 mins after a feed and also after a sleep. In this ‘quiet alert’ period, your baby’s primary needs are met and so introducing and practising a massage can work well. Remember your baby will tell you if he/she is enjoying the massage so keep connected and tuned in so that you your respond to any cues. Massage at bedtime is a good idea but babies can be very tired at this point so you may find the massage is only short and sweet as babies may want to snuggle, cuddle and sleep. Play around with massage to see the best time for you both. You may find that as you work through this online course, you use the different massage routines at different times of the day.
Q: For how long do I massage my baby?
A: Baby massage is baby led. The answer is as long as your baby wants to have a massage. For some babies, a short and sweet foot massage could be exactly what they want. Other babies might love the whole routine which is about 40 minutes. It’s completely up to you and your baby and will vary from day to day. Research shows touch has an effect after just 10 seconds and gets the oxytocin flowing. All babies are different. The most important part of baby massage is respecting a baby’s cues and respond. Classes are a great way to learn but all our teachers also have access to our free course so that you can top up at home if the class time is not the right time. In that way there is no pressure in classes and you can both relax.
Q: At what age can I start baby massage?
A: Babies can receive a gentle massage in the form of stroking, holding and skin-to-skin contact from birth (kangaroo care). However it is advisable for babies to attend classes after they have had their eight week check with their GP. Also, by this time their skin will have developed enough to be able to receive the massage oil.
Q: What is the best oil to use for baby massage?
A: An organic vegetable-based oil such as organic sunflower oil is perfect for baby massage because:
It is 100% natural.
It contains nutrients to nourish baby’s skin.
It is vegetable based and therefore if it goes into baby’s mouth it will not cause any harm. You will see that babies are always putting their hands in their mouths so this is important.
It does not sting if it goes into eyes.
It is highly unlikely to cause any kind of allergic reaction.
It is quickly absorbed into the skin and does not block pores.
It is safe for use on dry skin.
You can try other organic nut or seed oils designed for baby massage. Fractionated coconut oil is a firm favourite too. Try not use oils which contain nut extract such as peanut oil or sweet almond oil in order to minimise the risk of a reaction to a nut allergy. It is not recommended to massage babies with a base oil containing essential oils until the baby is six months old unless it has been recommended by a qualified aromatherapist or as specified on the product. Essential oils have many therapeutic qualities for babies but they contain powerful chemicals so should be used with caution and in accordance with the instructions of the manufacturer or an aromatherapist. I love the Neals Yard Baby Massage Oil which you can find on my online Newals Yard shop here: https://uk.nyrorganic.com/shop/susanyeates/area/shop-online/category/mother-and-baby/product/1648/baby-massage-oil-50ml/
Q: Where is the best place to practice baby massage?
A: So the safest place to practice baby massage is on the floor because if your baby moves or rolls there is no danger of a fall. You can also have your guide to baby massage and oil close by and in easy reach. Make sure you support your back when you are sitting and you might want to sit on the edge of a yoga block or on a cushion to support your lower spine. I would also recommend that you have a soft surface for your baby to lie on with something like a towel underneath them to soak up any loose massage oil. Make sure that the room is not too bright, not too noisy, not too cold (as you will be undressing baby) and not too distracting. Think about when you have a massage yourself - what is the environment like? It is usually relaxing and comforting, so re-create this for your bubba. Enjoy.
More Information on Baby Massage:
To find out more about baby massage with me click here
Want to Try Baby Massage With your Little One?
Take a look at my comprehensive online course in Baby Massage (suitable for babies of 8 weeks and up) - https://coursecraft.net/courses/z9T83
This special course shows you essential massage techniques for use at home with your baby. Learn about nurturing touch, the benefits of baby massage, what oils to use, when to massage baby and of course the massage strokes themselves. As well as being relaxing and calming for both you and baby, infant massage promotes muscular development and coordination, relieves colic, digestive issues and teething pain and gives you some special time with your baby. Suitable for babies of 8 weeks and up.
Click on the link below to find out more and register to see the first module for free: