Best Way to Massage Your Baby

Massage is a wonderful way to express your love for your baby – it helps calms your baby when he is unsettled, furthers development, and helps to instil a real sense of trust.

The benefits of massage

Loving, positive physical touch will make your baby feel safe and valued, increasing self-esteem and confidence. It has many other physical and emotional benefits, too.

Baby Massage Best Way to Massage Your Baby

  •  It will help you communicate with him, to read his body language and to learn his cues. This can be especially helpful if you and your baby got off to a slow start, perhaps because of early separation.
  •    It can help relieve pain, promote relaxation, aid digestion, and soothe your baby when he is distressed.
  •   It can improve circulation and boost his immune system. This is because it helps move lymph fluid around the body, clearing out harmful substances.
  •    It can tone your baby’s muscles and help his joints become more flexible. For this reason it is especially beneficial for premature babies.
  •    It slimulates growth-promoting hormones. Research shows that babies who are touched a lot grow well -there seems to be a biological connection between stroking and massaging babies and their growth.

When to massage your baby

You can slart to massage your baby from around two weeks – you may find it a very helplul way of getting to know him and increasing your confidence in handling him. Choose a time between feeds when he is not sleepy and do it in a warm room with warm hands.

Getting started

Choose an oil or lotion made specially for babies that can be absorbed into his skin. Keep reapplying the oil to your hands regularly as you massage your baby, to ensure that your movements are soil and smooth.

Undress your baby, putting a towel underneath him to absorb any oil spills or accidents. If you like, just massage one part of his body to begin with. You can then gradually build it up as you gain confidence. In the first few weeks, main- babies do nol like to be undressed. If this is the case with your baby, do bits of his body at a time so that he is never completely unclothed. For example, leave his vest on and concentrate on his legs, perhaps just after you have changed his nappy or when he’s had a bath. Then, cover his legs and massage the top part of his body.

Massage technique

Start with your baby lying on his back, and massage the front of his body. Work from the head down, with light strokes. Watch carefully and learn from his reactions. Always stop if he begins to show signs that he is not enjoying it – for example, by turning away from you.

Be very gentle at first, but increase the pressure of the strokes if you feel your baby likes it. Use sweeping movements, and do each part two or three times. When working on small areas, such as his toes, just use your fingertips. On other areas, such as his back, you may find it easier to use two hands.

Neck, shoulders, and arms

Stroke his neck in downward motions, then move to his shoulders, massaging from the neck outwards. You can then slowly move down his arms, gently “wringing” or squeezing them as you go. Then massage his wrists, hands, and fingers, stroking each finger with your fingertips and thumbs.

Baby Massage 1 Best Way to Massage Your Baby

Chest and tummy

Gently stroke your baby’s chest in downward motions. Rub his tummy clockwise and outwards from his tummy button with your fingertips.


Once you have massaged the front of your baby’s body, turn him over and begin massaging his back, again working from the head down.

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