Gently does it
Before you start the baby massage, ask your baby’s “permission”, suggests Pauline Carter, chair of the Guild of Infant and Child Massage. ‘Put your hands on her and look for clues. If she maintains eye contact or smiles, then she’s ready for a massage. Signs she’s not keen include hiccupping and looking away. Being aware of these clues will improve communication between you both.
That loving feeling
It’s good to signal to your baby that you’re about to massage her. ‘Make small circles on her head so she links this action with having a massage. If she’s ready, she’ll get excited. Never try to massage her if she’s crying or feeling sleepy, explains Pauline.
Rub my back, Mummy
Place her over your shoulder and massage from her back down to her bottom. Use your whole hand and be careful not to put pressure on her spine. Use long, gentle strokes.
Place her on a changing mat on the floor and remove her nappy. ‘Use plain vegetable oil as this is closest to human sebum, a natural oil produced by the skin to keep it supple, and is the least likely to cause problems,’ says Pauline. ‘Warm a 10p-sized amount of oil between the palms of your hands. Always do a patch test ten minutes before you massage your baby for the first time to make sure she isn’t allergic. Place a small drop on the side of your baby’s wrist and don’t use it if the area turns red or a rash appears.’
Close to you
When your baby starts crawling, she probably won’t be interested in staying still for a massage. But from 18 months, she may start to like it again. Baby massage is a wonderful way for you and your child to spend time together, and it can have a positive effect on your relationship. Let her guide you so that it remains an enjoyable experience for both of you.
- For more information, contact the Guild of Infant and Child Massage on 01889 564555 or visit www.gicm.org.uk