A few years ago, a friend of mine told me about the many benefits of infant massage. She was getting ready to adopt her first child and wanted to do everything in her power to bond with her new baby, to relieve any stress he may be feeling from all the new changes, but most importantly to let him know he was LOVED, to relax now that he’d found his forever family!!
After all, love is what we all want and whether our babies are adopted or not; we want them to feel loved too.
But I have to admit, when I first heard the term, “infant massage” I thought, I can’t do that…. I have no idea how to do that…darn, I wish I knew how to do that!!!! Well let me tell you, it’s not that hard. It just sounds intimidating or at least it did to me. 🙂
Luckily, I learned how to incorporate infant massage into my daughter’s life from the book, “Gentle Babies” by Debra Raybern. This has now become apart of our evening bed time routine. My daughter loves it. And I believe it has something to do with her sleeping through the night. She now knows to place her little hands in front of her mouth and nose and inhale the relaxing oils after I’ve applied them to her….it’s so stinking cute! I use a base of organic coconut oil (about a TBSP) and either 1 drop of Young Living’s Lavender essential oil or 1 drop of their Peace and Calming blend of oils. You can also mix up a batch and store it in an airtight glass if you don’t want to mix it up each time.
Let me just quickly say, PLEASE do not go out to the store and buy any old essential oil and try this. I will only use the Young Living brand because I know their oils are not adulterated, cut with synthetic chemicals or fillers, and only come from the first distillation, these are all important since our skin absorbs everything we place onto it in less than 30 seconds. And our babies are so precious and pure they deserve the best!!! If you wanted to read more about why I only use Young Living, click here.
Here are some excerpts from “Gentle Babies” on the benefits and the how to’s for infant massage using essential oils.
One of the many benefits to infant massage includes promoting bonding. Over the years, baby massage has also shown beneficial in assisting overall growth and development, sound sleep, relaxation and reduced fussiness. Additional benefits include relief from the discomforts of gas, colic and digestive complaints. Improvements in respiratory, circulatory and immune system function also have been reported. Gentle massage using therapeutic-grade essential oils diluted in high-quality carrier oils, is enjoyable for both baby and mom or dad. Parents find the special quality time with baby develops a special bond and using essential oils to support the baby’s health give parents confidence in their ability to respond to the child’s needs.
Cross-cultural studies show that babies who are held, massaged, carried, rocked and breastfed, grow into adults that are less aggressive and violent, and more compassionate and cooperative. Recent research shows benefits for premature infants and children with asthma and diabetes. Mothers with postpartum depression have shown improvement after starting infant massage.
Think of the baby massage as a gentle stroking of the body, not the vigorous, deep tissue, Swedish variety. Ideally both the parent and baby should be in a calm relaxed state. However, massage also can help calm a baby; a fussy child may respond well to massage with Lavender or Peace & Calming oil. This may be before bath or bedtime. It is best to wait at least one hour after baby’s feeding.
The room should be warm, rather than cool. A temperature of about 78 degrees is good. The baby should lie on his or her back on a padded blanket or towel. The parent can either stand over the baby if using a bed or massage table (we use our changing table) or sit on the floor with the parent’s legs form a diamond shape where the baby can lie with his head cradled in the adults feet. Leave the diaper on, but uncover the baby’s arms, legs and torso. Be sure to remove all jewelry so as not to scratch the baby.
The parent should place 4-5 drops of the massage oil ( I use about a TBSP organic coconut oil and add 1-2 drops of essential oil) place it in your hands and rub together to warm both the oils and your hands. Apply the oil with long gentle strokes on the arms, legs and then the torso. Make the strokes gentle, but not ticklish. The direction of the massage can be in both directions, but end with strokes towards the heart. In the case of digestive concerns (colic, gas, etc), massage in small circles from the right to the left side of the body – the same direction the colon flows. If massaging the scalp, use small circular motion as if shampooing the baby’s hair.
During the massage it is fine to softly talk or pray, hum, sing and or play softy music. To further bond with the baby, maintain eye contact during the baby massage.
The massage may last 10 – 30 minutes, depending on the mood of the child and the desired results of the massage. Keep a warm towel or blanket nearby to cover the massaged area and keep baby from becoming chilled.
Massage may be done near or around the navel area and spine, but do not focus on these areas. Every parent is capable of giving his or her baby a wonderful massage. A great way to learn more about baby massage is to find a massage therapist skilled in baby or infant massage to teach specific techniques depending on a child’s health challenge.
If gas is an issue, hold the legs under the knees, then gently press the knees up towards his or her tummy. This position can help the baby expel gas.
I hope these tips have helped to empower you to add infant massage into your baby’s routine!!!
You may or may not know this, but our feet have points on them that correspond to different parts of our bodies. Take a look at this great chart which outlines these areas for baby.