Jayne Russell has been a certified infant massage instructor with the International Association of Infant Massage for twenty years and is the founder of organic mum and baby skincare brand Nom Nom
“Baby massage helps to relieve tummy issues, promotes relaxation and improves sleep and helps your baby feel securely attached, loved and respected. It can help you better understand their body language and behaviour, increasing your confidence in caring for your baby and helping you feel closer. You can continue throughout childhood.
All you need is a soft towel and waterproof mat to lay your baby on, a warm room with comfortable lighting and some baby massage oil. Make sure your baby is calm and ready to engage and you’re not feeling rushed. Including it as part of a morning or bedtime routine can help ensure it becomes a regular part of your day.
Use a cold-pressed, unscented, plant based oil, preferably organic – something you would be happy to eat! Breathe deeply to calm and focus before you begin. If your baby is not 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 if you are massaging the tummy to help ease wind and constipation. Be guided by your baby and adapt according to their feedback. The legs are a great place to start as your baby will already be used to having these handled regularly. It is very individual and you will learn your baby’s favourite (and also least favourite) strokes when you massage regularly.
Back massage can be a helpful way to include tummy time. Warm some oil in your hands and place them palm down on your baby’s back. Move them rhythmically in opposite directions across their skin and then use the pads of your fingers to massage in small circles, taking care to avoid massaging directly over the spine.
You should avoid massaging over cuts, sores, or recent bruising. Some babies may be sensitive about certain areas and you will need to adapt some tummy strokes if there is an umbilical hernia. Check with a health professional if there are any medical concerns.
Baby massage is all about quality not quantity, so only massage for as long as your baby is receptive. You can finish with a kiss, a cuddle, a thank you or all three!
Touch is baby’s most important early sense and parents can work intuitively to massage their baby. However, classes are a wonderful way to learn a massage routine, the benefits of each stroke, how to adapt the massage as your baby grows. Find an instructor at iaimbabymassage.co.uk” nomnomskincare.com