Check out this sequence of massage and yoga I put together with SheaMoisture to help calm baby, increase circulation, promote health and wellness, as well as create bonding time.
Baby Massage is an age-old tradition passed down from mothers to daughters for centuries. Studies have shown that massage helps promote physiological, neurological and emotional development. Baby massage helps build the bond of parents to their children. For babies, a gentle massage helps them relax and feel loved and secure. Massage aids in circulation, digestion and helps promote better sleep. Babies learn to associate the gentle touch of their parents’ with a calming, comforting experience especially important if the baby experiences colic or teething pains. Massage oil conditions baby’s tender skin. For parents, it helps them relax as they bond with their baby. A more relaxed parent is more confident and able to respond to their babies’ cues.
We recommend using the SheaMoisture Raw Shea, Chamomile & Argan Baby Oil Rub as it nurtures, calms and moisturizes baby’s skin. Certified organic Shea Butter deeply moisturizes and heals dry skin with its high content of fatty acids and vitamins. Argan oil, used historically by the women of Berber to care for their baby’s skin, seals in softness and moisture. Frankincense and Myrrh extracts, given as a gift of beauty throughout history, help soothe irritated skin.
Techniques of Baby Massage & Yoga
As you would for your own spa experience, prepare a time that you can focus on your baby without interruption. This special moment should be built into your baby’s daily schedule. A half-hour would be ideal but taking time to care for your baby during diaper changes and after a bath before bed time will still help promote bonding between parent and child. These routine massages can also help promote sleeping, relief of colic and enhance infant’s immune system, motor skills and overall development. Make eye contact with your child and speak with them in a gentle, loving voice. Your touch should also be slow, firm but not ticklish so as not to startle your child. Start with head and face. When you begin, carefully observe baby’s body language to see how baby responds and is feeling. Check the tightness of movements. A massage can last 10 minutes or 30 minutes, depending on the baby’s mood.
Before you begin, ensure that your baby is calm but alert. These massages should not be done immediately after feeding or when they are sleepy. Gather together a blanket or towel as well as a massage oil in a non-breakable container, such as the SheaMoisture Raw Shea, Chamomile & Argan Baby Oil Rub. It is important to test the oil on a small area your infant’s skin to ensure an irritation does not occur. Proceed to sit on the floor and form a diamond shape with your legs to create a holding place for the baby. Place the blanket or towel over your feet and between your knees. Carefully undress the infant down to the diaper and nestle their head on your feet. Start with a “hello” stroke from baby’s head to toes and if they become irritable, either move onto another method or attempt the massage at another time. Below outlines different techniques based on the different body parts.
TUMMY (Avoid massaging tummy if the cord hasn’t completely healed)
1. Hold your hand in such a way as to allow your pinky to be able to move like a paddle across the baby’s belly and proceed in a paddle-wheel-like motion.
2. Gently massage their abdomen in a circular, clockwise motion.
3. Softly trace lines from left to right across baby’s torso.
4. Place hand on baby’s tummy in a horizontal fashion and in a few motions, rock hand from side to side.
HEAD & FACE
1. Cradling your baby’s head in both hands, massage the scalp with your fingertips, as if you’re shampooing. (Avoid the fontanel, the soft spot on top of baby’s head).
2. Gently massage their ears between your thumb and index finger.
3. Trace a heart shape on your baby’s face, bringing your hands together at the chin.
4. Use the thumbs as an opportunity to make relaxing movements throughout the face:
- Movement from between baby’s eyebrows and then outward
- Stroke gently over baby’s closed eyelids
- Stroke from the bridge of the nose out over the cheeks
5. Using your fingertips, massage the jaw in small circles.
1. Place both hands on your baby’s chest and stroke outward from their sternum to their shoulders.
2. Beginning at their sternum, trace a heart shape bringing both hands up to their shoulders, then down and back together.
3. In a crisscross pattern, stroke diagonally from one side of your baby’s hip, up and over the opposite shoulder, and back down to baby’s hip.
1. With one hand, hold baby’s wrist. Relax their upper arm by tapping it lightly.
2. Hold their wrist with one hand and hold your other hand in a C-shape around baby’s upper arm; stroke from their shoulder down to their wrist.
3. With each hand grasping baby’s arm, one right above the other, stroke down from shoulder to wrist with both hands rotating in opposite directions, as if you were gently wringing a towel.
4. Massage their palm, moving thumb over thumb from heel of their hand to fingers.
5. Stroke down top of hand from wrist to fingertips. Gently squeeze and pull each finger.
6. Massage their wrist by moving your fingers in small circles.
7. Roll their arm between both your hands.
1. Place baby on tummy horizontally in front of you, or lay them across your outstretched legs. Keep their hands in front of them, not at their sides.
2. With both of your hands on baby’s back, move each hand back and forth (keeping them going in opposite directions) from the base of the neck to their bottom.
3. Hold your baby’s bottom with one hand and use the other to stroke down from their neck to their bottom.
4. Using your fingertips, massage in small circles down one side of baby’s spine and up the other. Avoid pressing on their spine directly.
5. Massage shoulders and baby’s bottom with small and big circular motions.
6. Holding your fingers like a rake, stroke down their back.
1. Lift one of their legs by the ankle and relax it by lightly tapping the upper thigh.
2. Hold baby’s ankle with one hand and hold your other hand in a C-shape, thumb down, around your baby’s upper thigh. Stroke from their thigh down to their foot.
3. With your hands grasping the leg at the thigh, one right above the other, stroke down from hip to foot with both hands rotating in opposite directions, as if you were wringing a towel.
4. On the sole of their foot, use a thumb-over-thumb motion to massage from heel to toes.
5. Use your whole hand to stroke the bottom of baby’s foot from heel to toes.
6. Stroke the top of their foot. Gently squeeze and pull each toe.
7. Massage around their ankle using small circles.
1. Take baby’s right foot with your left hand under the heel.
2. With your right hand gently massage the foot with your thumb from the bottom up, stimulating the baby’s organs and energy.
3. Right hand then holds their toes as you circulate clockwise 5 times and then reverse 5 times.
4. Repeat on the other side.
Conclude your baby’s massage with Heart Crosses to stretch and strengthen baby’s arms and Bicycles to relieve trapped gas and strengthen baby’s legs and abdominal muscles.
1. Hold baby’s hands and cross their arms over their chest.
2. Bring arms out to the sides.
3. Sing your favorite baby song or phrase (i.e. I Love You or Happy Baby) for baby in rhythm with the movement.
4. Repeat as long as you like and baby allows.
1. Smile and look into baby’s eyes.
2. Gently rotate baby’s legs alternately in bicycle motion.
3. Sing in rhythm with the motion.
4. Bring both knees towards baby’s chest and slightly rock them back so the bottom comes off the floor. Repeat a few times.
5. Let baby’s legs relax down.
6. Give baby a big smile and kiss.
Important: The above content, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.