Your precious little baby is the most important part of you. And just like how we enjoy a good spa day, help your baby unwind and pamper them with the warmth of your own hands. The first 3 months after a baby is born (or after the due date in case of preemies) is the golden 4th trimester. The baby needs to be close to it’s mother & father. I personally found that a massage is a great way to connect to my newborn.
I must warn you, it is not the easiest task. Especially for your first born. I was lucky to have found a wonderful masseuse in Dubai; she visited us for 8 weeks for a whole body massage for both my baby and me. She showed me the how to’s and gave me the confidence that I could handle massaging my own baby. With some guidance from my mom, I started off massaging by baby from around 7 weeks of age and there has been no looking back.
A massage is the perfect bonding time you could get with your little one. The first 6 weeks are extremely difficult and you are going through crazy emotions and your hormones are all over the place. But these 15 minutes you spend with your baby could be therapeutic both for you and baby.
Babies do not come with an user manual; but they still need to be taught everything at the right time. Most babies struggle to even fart, and it takes them a few months to learn how to do it. A good massage aids digestion and helps relieves gas, which could eliminate one of the many reasons for their crankiness in the early days.
The effect of a good massage is a well rested sleep. It soothes them just like how it would soothe us.
A good massage & bath are great ways to introduce some sort of routine is established. You could start with doing this in the day time, when you have help around. In a few months, you could move it to the evenings and merge this with your night-time sleep routine.
A few do’s & don’ts that helped me:
Make sure to get your doctor’s guidance before beginning any form of massage or bath. Do talk to someone you trust for guidance on how to do the massage itself.
It starts with selecting the right oil for the baby. We tried Coconut oil but the baby developed mild rashes with it. We then tried Extra virgin olive oil which suited well. Sebamed massage oil & Himalaya oil have really suited us well. Do a patch test on the baby if you must. Make sure to bring the oil to a warm temperature by rubbing between your palms before applying on the baby. Do not pour on the baby and rub. If you do not prefer oil, then you can massage with lotion after a bath.
Find the right to place your baby; Indian traditional massage entails placing the baby on the legs – this gives good control and your body heat is also transferred to them. Make sure the room temperature is neither too hot and nor too cold. Turn off the air conditioning and have some fresh air if needed.
Do avoid if they have a cold, fever or any other unusual symptoms.
A good massage needs to be gentle but firm. Spend about a couple of minutes on each body part and have rhythmic strokes that move towards the outward extremes. There are plenty of YouTube videos available, but please use your discretion.
It is good to let the oil soak in for a while. If you have access to direct sunlight (only if it is the early morning rays), let them soak some Vitamin D. For slightly older babies (3 months onwards), you can let them soak for a couple of hours.
After bath, make sure to moisturize well. Clothe and swaddle them and place them in a good place for a few hours of sleep. My baby used to get very good sleep in the first month after massage. But once he started becoming more aware of the surroundings, any small noise used to disturb him.
It gets tougher as they grow up, since they don’t want to be lying down – there is so much more to be done and seen. But keep it up with good eye contact and make it a fun experience for them. Sing & laugh and they will enjoy it as much as you do.
It is intimidating to handle your little baby, but if anyone can do it – it’s you. Try it out and let me know your thoughts on massaging the baby. Share your experience in the comments!
Through this post, I’m sharing my own experience with my baby. What I’ve mentioned may or may not be applicable in your case. Please use your own discretion and talk to your doctor before following anything you read or see here or anywhere else online.