Baby Massage Guide: Six Months Plus
Baby massage has been practiced in many cultures for thousands of years, and research shows many benefits. This guide has been created to give you examples of what you will learn in a massage class.
Through massage, you can gain increased awareness of how your baby communicates and ideas on ways to support your baby in their first few months. You and your baby will discover what is best for you both. It is important to be mindful that massage is something you do with, rather than to your baby.
More Massage Strokes for Babies Six Months Plus
At this stage your baby will be much more active, wriggling, sitting up, crawling and trying to stand. Remember it is normal for an active baby to move around a lot, so you can be creative with the massage, working with any part of the body which is presented to you. It’s also a time to introduce more fun like songs, rhymes and games. Adapt the massage strokes to your baby’s more active developmental stage. Massage can help with your baby’s co-ordination as well as build strength to help them prepare to walk.
Legs - Rolling
Leg rolling is a fun activity which increases body awareness. Once the baby shows that they enjoy the movement, you could introduce a song. Remember to slow the pace of your song down so that your baby can join in.
With your hands, roll the leg from thigh to ankle. With longer legs, adapt this stroke, rolling from knee to ankle.
If your baby wants to sit upright, you can adapt your massage. Massaging in this position helps to prepare them for sitting unsupported and strengthen the back muscles. It can also be soothing as a calming bedtime routine.
Swooping one hand after the other from neck to buttocks and down again. Baby might want to play with a toy while you are massaging.
Gentle movements, which are a set of simple exercises to help to develop baby’s coordination, align the spine and keep your baby flexible. These movements are a fun activity for the babies. You will learn them when you attend the class. This is one example below.
Cross your baby’s arms at the chest three times, alternating, which arm is over and under. Then gently stretch the arms out to the side. The rhythm is: cross-cross-cross-open. Repeat.
Finish with a kiss and a cuddle.
These massage strokes are based on INFANT MASSAGE: A Handbook for Loving Parents by Vimala McClure, the founder of the IAIM.
The IAIM is a non-profit organization and does not endorse any product.
Join a Baby Massage Group
It is recommended that you learn more from someone with a qualification in infant massage to gain the full benefit. Going to a baby massage group is an ideal way to learn to massage your baby safely.
The International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) has been instructing parents around the world for over 25 years. For more information, go to www.iaim.net.