Baby massage: the calming touch

Massage is a wonderful relaxing way to bond with your little one.

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  • Baby massage

    Massage has a host of health benefits for your baby, from calming him down to improving his sleep, skin and digestion. 'Touch is your baby's first language, so massage is a great way of establishing trust and confidence between you both,' says massage expert Katie Whitehouse. 'It lets you communicate with your baby and really focus on each other.'

  • Get ready...

    Choose a time when your baby is relaxed...
    ...after his bath is ideal. Make sure the room is warm and comfortable. 'It's best when your baby is not hungry or too full up,' advises Kate. 'Massage is about interaction and fun, so keep eye contact as much as possible. You can also sing - your baby will love joining in.' Lie your baby on a warm towel, pour a little oil on your hands, rub them together to warm them up and get started...

  • Ticklish toes and lovely legs

    Massaging the feet relaxes the whole body...
    'Using your thumbs, massage the sole of your baby's foot with little circles, firmly enough that it doesn't tickle,' says Katie. 'Then massage the top of the foot and around the ankle with your fingers, finishing with a game of This Little Piggy Went To Market, pulling very gently on each toe between thumb and forefinger. Repeat with the other leg, foot and toes.'

    Making sure your hands are warm, hold one leg and give it a gentle shake to relax the muscles...
    'With one hand holding the ankle, use the other to glide up the front and down the back of the leg, repeating up to three times,' says Katie. 'Then gently stroke the whole leg with your relaxed hands, moving hand over hand from hip to foot.'

  • Beautiful back

    Laying your baby on his front will gently stretch his tummy...
    ...which can relieve wind pain, as well as help to strengthen his back and neck muscles. 'Use circular movements with your thumb pads or fingertips all over the back and buttocks,' says Katie. 'Finally, slowly stroke down the whole back of your baby's body, from neck to feet using both hands. Let your strokes get slower and slower until you finally stop, resting your warm hands on your baby's lower back.'

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  • Chest and arms

    Rest both your hands on the middle of your baby's chest...
    ...and stroke up towards his collarbones, out and over his shoulders and down both arms - you can play This Little Piggy Went To Market with his fingers. 'Another thing babies love is you crossing their arms gently across their chest - it's a good way to relax the shoulders,' says Katie. Finally, stroke down your baby's whole body with both hands.

  • Yummy Tummy

    Start by resting both hands on your baby's tummy...
    ...then use the weight of your relaxed hand to stroke in big clockwise circles around the tummy, says Katie. 'Start lightly, and increase the pressure slightly as your baby's tummy relaxes.' If your baby has wind, try holding their ankles or lower legs, gently allowing the legs to bend so their knees move towards their chest. This can help to ease any discomfort.'

  • Choose your baby oil

    You can use any cold-pressed organic oil such as sunflower, grape seed or olive oil. Or try these oils:

    Boo Boo Kind and Calming Massage Oil
    With organic rosehip and lavender oil to calm and soothe. From 3 months, £12.99 for 100ml, boobooshop.com

  • Choose your baby oil

    Johnson's Baby Oil
    Perfect for massaging your baby - and keeps her skin soft and moisturised. From birth, £2.28 for 500ml, boots.com

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  • Choose your baby oil

    Natalia Baby Massage Oil
    Organic cold pressed sunflower oil - perfect for your baby's delicate skin. From birth, £5 for 50ml, vitaltouch.com

Last updated on 27 January 2012

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