Baby massage is one of the child care practice that is been practiced from time immemorial in many cultures all around the world. Infants show healthy growth, more weight gain when they are massaged well and regularly. Basically body massage increases blood circulation in the body and aids the digestive system. It also helps in parent-child bonding. In India the baby massage is done for the new borns with a small wheat ball dipped in almond oil and turmeric. The baby massage with hands begins only after the baby is one month old. The massage can be done until the baby is 3-4 years old.
Choose a moment in which you and your child are relaxed and calm. A half hour after the baby has eaten is recommended.Make sure that the room temperature is warm. Put the baby on a soft surface so your baby will feel comfortable and secure. Keep some little pillows handy.It is a good practice to keep all things you ready before you start rubbing the oil on the baby's body. This includes, the baby massage oil or the vegetable oil, tissues, clean diapers and clothes. Baby's skin is very soft and bracelet, rings and long nails might hurt your child accidentally. So keep your fingernails short and keep aside the jewellery pieces you wear on hands when you are massaging the baby. Spread a changing mat or a soft towel on a flat surface and undress the baby. Rub only about half-a-teaspoon of oil at a time on your palms so they glide easily on the baby's body. You can apply more oil later as needed. Never watch the clock while massaging your infant.
Always begin with massaging the legs. To place your hands directly on the infant's chest or abdomen to begin massaging can be intrusive, and unacceptable to many infants. Use long firm strokes. Remember that your touches should be tender do not make mechanic motions. Try to be flexible by not keeping a rigid routine. If the baby wants to change position let them do so. Do not force your baby to keep a position, you can go back to these areas later on. Keep the baby engaged while massaging him or her by talking or singing to the infant. Light circular movements on chest and stomach, stroking across the shoulders, downward movement on the arms and legs and upward movements on the back are the best.
Do not use olive oil for infant massage, it's texture is to thick and cannot be absorbed sufficiently by the skin. Never massage your baby while he/she is crying. Do not oil baby's palms or fingers as these little ones tend to put them in their mouths or eyes often and this may cause them irritation. Avoid rashes, wounds or areas where the baby has got his injections or vaccines as it may hurt. Do not wake the baby up for a massage. Do not massage the baby just before or after feeding, or when the baby is ill. Do not put too much pressure on the baby's fragile body and avoid the spine area.