Baby Massage: The benefits & how to choose the right massage oil for your baby's skin
Want to discover the benefits of massage for you and your new born baby? With the help of Jayne from Nom Nom Skincare we answer your questions on baby massage and suggest our favourite products to help your baby's skin.
Why baby massage is important?
There are many benefits of baby massage for your baby but also for you! They include:
- Easing constipation, wind and colic
- Bonding with your baby
- Developing secure attachments
- Learning to understand their body language and behaviour
- Boost your confidence in caring for your baby
- Stimulates digestive, nervous and immune systems
- Aids muscle development
- Decreasing stress hormones to help relaxation and aid sleep
How to start baby massage?
According to Mother and Baby Magazine the best time to start massaging your baby is when they are 'calm and ready to engage'. In terms of how to start massaging your baby they suggest:
"Legs are a great place to start, as your baby (sic) will already be used to having these handled during nappy changes. Follow their cues and only continue for as long as they are happy to receive massage. This way you'll encourage positive associations with massage sessions"
What equipment do I need for baby massage?
You don't need loads of complicated or expensive equipment to reap the benefits of baby massage. All you need are a soft towel, water proof mat and a baby massage oil. You could incorporate massage into one of you changing routines, at bed time, or during the day as part of tummy time.
What techniques are good for baby massage?
Jayne, a pre and post natal massage therapist and founder of Nom Nom Skincare gives her top tips for baby massage:
"breathe deeply to calm and focus before you begin. If your baby isn't keen on being naked, undress the part of the body you are working on. Ask your baby if they are ready and follow their cues. Try to make eye contact, speak or sing to your baby as you massage.
If massage is too light it can be irritating, so give a little pressure...be guided by your baby and adapt according to their feedback. It is very individual and you will learn your baby's favourite (and least favourite) strokes when you massage regularly.
Warm some oil in your hands and place them on your baby's skin. Move your hands rhythmically in opposite directions across their skin and then use the pads of your fingers to massage in small circles. Avoid massaging directly over the spine, over cuts sores, or recent bruising and adapt some tummy strokes if there is an umbilical hernia. Check with a health professional if there are any medical concerns"
If you want to learn a massage routine or understand the benefits of each stroke then taking a baby massage course might be a good idea. We regularly host baby massage classes in our store in London (for our next baby massage classes click here). If you're not based in London and are wondering if there is a baby massage class nearby we can help you find someone local who uses Nom Nom skincare products in their classes, just get in touch.
Which oil to use for baby massage?
When choosing the best oil to use on your baby's skin for massage, the International Association of Infant Massage suggests using 'a high quality, preferably organic, unscented, cold press vegetable oil'. Plant oils found in vegetables and flowers carry nourishing fat soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids into the skin to assist the skin's protective barrier without blocking the pores.
Not all plant based oils are ideal for baby's skin though. Jayne says that 'a recent study found that olive oil can damage the skin barrier and has the potential to cause or exacerbate atopic dermatitis' so its best to avoid olive oil on baby's skin as well as nut oils on allergy or eczema-prone skin or of course if there is a known nut allergy.
Jayne suggests using oils that are low in oleic fatty acids but high in linoleic fatty acids. Some plant based oils which are suitable for baby massage are:
- Sunflower Oil
- Starflower Oil
- Evening Primrose Oil
- Coconut Oil
We would of course recommend you use the organic baby oil that Jayne herself has formulated as she has over 20 years of understanding baby skincare. It's a blend of sunflower, starflower and coconut oil to assist with baby massage but also cradle cap.