Baby massage has lots of benefits for your baby, including better sleep, lower stress levels and less crying. It can also help you and your partner to bond with your baby and feel more confident as parents.
How to do it:
- Choose a time when your baby is in a calm, alert state, in other words, when they aren't hungry, tired or upset.
- You may like to make it part of your baby's bedtime routine, perhaps after a bath and before a feed.
- Make sure the room is warm and your baby has somewhere comfortable to lie – a changing mat covered with a towel is perfect.
- Have everything you need – towel, cream or oil, nappy and clothes – ready before you start.
- Use a little unperfumed cream or oil to help your fingers glide over your baby's skin (avoid aqueous cream, peanut oil or mustard oil).
- Start by gently squeezing and stretching the toes and feet, then work your way up the legs, gently squeezing the calf and thigh muscles.
- Use your fingertips to massage clockwise in circles around your baby's navel.
- Massage the chest upwards and outwards towards your baby's shoulders then back again.
- Stretch out your baby's arms one by one and gently squeeze and stroke the arms and hands.
- Talk soothingly to your baby as you massage.
- Finish by stroking gently down the length of your baby's body from shoulders to feet a few times.
- Stop if your baby seems to have had enough at any point.
- Joining a baby massage class will help to boost your skills and confidence – ask your midwife or health visitor if there is one near you.