Give your baby the most relaxing massage
Baby massage is a great way to bond with your baby and has been practiced for centuries in our country. When you go to buy baby oil for massage, it is important that you choose an oil, which is best suited for your baby’s skin. Dr Pankaj Parikh, Mumbai-based paediatrician, says, “You can choose between vegetable oils, mineral oils or emulsions and lotions. Best to use are unrefined vegetable oils, which absorb quickly and carry many health benefits.”
You can massage your baby from birth. This is known to have a calming effect and is a great way to relax your baby. Dr Parikh says, “When you give your baby a massage, it stimulates her nervous system. This helps improve blood circulation in her body which is essential for her development. Choose any oil, for example, vegetable oil which is less viscous and penetrates into the skin. It prevents dry and irritable skin and retains moisture. Rhythmic movement that comes from the affectionate touch of the mother or father helps the parents to communicate with the baby. So, it’s a great way for you to bond. Your baby’s heart rate and breathing slows down during the massage and she becomes more relaxed. Giving your infant regular massages is good for her emotional well-being too. It will also help you learn how to read your baby’s signals and respond better to her unique needs.”
THE RIGHT TIME
Anytime, unless your baby is crying or distressed. “Pick a time when you’re relaxed and your baby is quiet but alert,” says Dr Parikh. Make sure the room is warm and comfortable, then undress your baby and lay her on a soft towel. Rub cream or olive oil into your hands to warm them up, then begin. If your baby doesn’t seem to enjoy the massage, stop and try again another time.
Close your eyes and press your eyelids. This is the amount of pressure you should use on your baby to avoid causing her discomfort. Dr Parikh advises, “Make sure the strokes are gentle but firm. Follow your baby’s signal about when to stop.”
HEAD. SHOULDERS AND BACK
Start with your baby’s head and use a circular motion to massage her temples and ears. Lightly stroke her eyebrows, eyelids and around her mouth. Move down to her shoulders and chest and gently massage them using circular movements. “With both of your hands on baby’s back,move each hand back and forth from the base of her neck to her buttocks,” says Dr Parikh.
LEGS, FEET AND TOES
Stroke each leg gently with the whole of your hand, starting from the top of your baby’s thigh, working down. When you get to her feet, start by pulling her toes gently then rub the top of each foot with your thumb. “Massage around her ankle by moving your fingers in small circles. Use your whole hand to stroke the bottom of her foot from heel to toes,” advises Dr Parikh. By the time you finish, both of you will be feeling deliciously calm.