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Mother massaging baby's feet

The Benefits of Baby Massage

Studies show that a routine touch and massage by a parent or caregiver to baby is vital to their growth, communication and learning.

Touch: Our First Language

A relaxing and gentle touch helps soothe babies by lessening their anxiety. In fact, infants who experience routine touch show 50% more eye contact and are 3 times more likely to have an overall positive expression than infants who do not.

You might have noticed that at hospitals and birth centers, newborns are placed on the mother’s chest or abdomen to give as much skin-to-skin contact as possible. The closeness of the contact between you and baby calms their breathing and builds your connection.

Not only does regular touch and skin-to-skin contact help nurture your connection to baby, regular infant massage also helps soothe baby in a plethora of ways:

  • Reduce crying
  • Aid with digestion
  • Help relieve colic, gas and constipation
  • Increase daily weight gain
  • Enhance baby’s adjustment to nighttime sleep
  • Help baby sleep more deeply
  • Relieve nasal congestion and teething discomfort
  • Help develop good muscle tone, coordination and suppleness
  • Enhance body awareness
  • Boost their immune system
  • Improve skin texture
  • Help calm and relax you and baby
  • Boosts your confidence in handling baby

Massage questions

Did you know?

Researchers feel that a positive maternal child bond helps to form the basis for future relationships.

How To: Massage a Baby

Infants communicate during massage. Pay close attention for ideas, right from your baby, on how you can support them.

How to Massage a Baby | JOHNSON'S®

Baby Massage: 8 Tips & Tricks

  • Massage tip 1 Choose a time when your baby is awake and alert, not too hungry or too full.
  • Massage tip 2 Ensure the room is warm and lighting not too bright.
  • Massage tip 3 Have what you need ready: baby massage oil, towel, clean diapers and clothes.
  • Massage tip 4 Wash your hands and remove jewelry.
  • Massage tip 5 Find a comfortable place to massage so they can see your face clearly.
  • Massage tip 6 Before starting, relax with a few full breaths — this can help your baby relax too.
  • Massage tip 7 Babies are always changing. Some may feel more secure if they’re close to their parents.
  • Massage tip 8 Use baby oil or lotion and glide comfortably over baby’s skin.

WARNING: Keep all products out of reach of children. Keep any baby oil out of children’s reach to avoid drinking and accidental inhalation, which can cause serious injury. Should breathing problems occur, consult a doctor immediately.

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Remember, massage is something you do WITH baby and not TO baby. That small adjustment of thinking will help ease you into giving baby a regular massage routine that’ll grow your bond and lead to baby’s happy and healthy development. Through newborn massage, you’ll get a greater awareness of how your baby communicates, and it’ll help foster ideas on ways to support baby in their first few months. Start easing into a routine with these newborn massage techniques.

Once baby hits six weeks, you’ll notice they become more engaging with you. Baby massage is integral to help baby’s development – here are a few techniques to help get you started.

At the toddler stage, baby will be much more active, wriggling, sitting up, crawling and trying to stand.

These toddler massage techniques are a bit more active to help your little one develop their self-confidence and their ability to relate to others. By singing songs, rhyming and playing games you’ll help them build their coordination, strength, and even help prepare them for walking!

Legs Rolling

With your hand, roll the leg from thigh to ankle to help toddler increase their body awareness.

Back

Swoop one hand after the other from neck down the back and up again to soothe and relax toddler if they’re sitting upright.

Gentle Movements

Gentle movements help to develop baby’s coordination, align the spine and keep your baby flexible.

Cross-Cross-Cross-Open

Start by crossing baby’s arms at the chest three times. Alternate between which arm goes over and under. Gently stretch baby’s arms out to the side and follow the rhythm: cross-cross-cross-open. Repeat. Finish the massage with a cuddle and a kiss.