How to oil massage your baby all by yourself? Here is a step by step guide to help you out.
Babies like to be touched and pampered. Oil massaging is an excellent way by which the warmth and care of the mother can be passed to the baby through her soothing touches.
Oil massaging babies may seem quite difficult if you are doing it for the first time.
Being a first time mother, I was very much nervous and confused on whether to give traditional oil massage to my baby. That was when my mother and aayi (my maalishwali from native) came in to help me.
I checked out a few books as well and all supported the oil massage. I decided to go the traditional way with the help of my aayi and it was such a great experience.
This post is dedicated to all the first time mommies and daddies who want to give the oil massages to their babies but are not sure of the process.
Benefits of oil massage for babies:
Oil massage is very much beneficial for the babies.
- It aids in proper growth
- Encourages blood circulation
- Helpful for babies and toddlers with respiratory problems as it relaxes the chest muscles
- Can help babies to sleep better
- Very relaxing for the baby
- A fantastic way to bond with your little ones
Types of oils which can be used to oil massage your baby:
Type of oil is completely your choice. Plant based oils are absorbed in better manner. Try to use the unrefined / filtered oils for massage. One can also choose organic oils.
Given below are a few options.
- Mustard or Sarson oil
It is suggested to use mustard oil in winter season, as it is hot in nature.
As it is very strong oil, I used to avoid putting mustard oil on face. Also, it is better option if you plan to bathe the baby after massage as it has a strong smell and may damage the fabrics/baby’s clothes.
- Sesame or Til oil
Sesame oil is brilliant for massages as it has anti-bacterial properties. It helps to keep the skin healthy and hydrated.
- Almond or Badam oil
Badam oil is costly and it may be difficult to get in pure forms. Almond oils also offer many advantages as it is very high in Vitamin E and ensures soft nourishing skin.
- Olive or Jaitun oil
Olive oil is not very popular massaging oil in traditional Indian baths for babies, yet many people use it.
- Coconut oil
One of the most commonly used oils, coconut oil has amazing benefits if used as massage oil (antimicrobial and antifungal). It is good for all skin types. It also makes the skin silky and retains the moisture.
Coconut oil can even be used for treating diaper rash. Coconut oil is also best for baby’s head.
Virgin coconut oil is the best for massaging babies. Read to know how to make virgin coconut oil at home.
How to oil massage your baby all by yourself?
Oil massage can be given to kids of all age.
For babies less than 3 months, do take help / guidance from a trained person and then do it. One should avoid giving oil massage if the baby has fever or any other illness. The massage will take approximately 10 to 30 minutes.
Select a convenient time to give the massage. Oil massage can be done before giving bath to the baby or it can be done at nighttime as it aids in good sleep.
Select a safe and comfortable place. Do make sure that the place is safe from cold winds.
Before starting massage be ready with the oil that is to be applied on the baby’s body. It can be any oil of your choice. You can also read about which soap and massage oils are good for babies.
Keep ready the oil to be applied on baby’s head. Coconut oil is preferred for head as it helps to relieve the dry scalp problem and has amazing medicinal properties.
Use only hands for massaging. Do remove any pointed finger rings or bangles that may hurt the baby. We need to keep the baby comfortably either on the lap or legs .
One can also keep the baby on a towel or folded bed sheet (I did the same as I had a C section and found it difficult to bend down with the baby).
Undress the baby gently and start the massage.
Step by step instructions to oil massage your baby:
Apply the oil onto your palm and start with legs. Using a little oil, wrap your hands around one of the thighs and pull down, one hand after the other, lightly, as if you’re “milking” the leg.
Switch legs and repeat. Do rub the soles also gently. Arms and hands are to be massaged in a same manner as legs.
Next comes the chest.
Place your hands in a triangular / prayer position over the chest (central region) and move outwards towards the shoulder. Repeat these step 2-4 times.
After this place your hands again over the central region and stroke slowly towards the stomach area. This step can be done 2-4 times.
To massage the back, make the baby to lie on his tummy. Place your hands just below the neck and stroke down gently (one hand after the other) towards the thighs. Just follow the spine and don’t try to rub the baby.
For ears and face just take a few drops of oil in your hand and apply gently. Follow outward & upwards strokes on the face. You can also read how to clean baby’s ears.
Apply little oil on the head and rotate your palms gently on baby’s head. No need to apply any pressure and just pat the oil onto the head.
Always remember to keep the hand movements very gentle while massaging the baby.
Do try to sing or chat with your little angel while massaging as it calms them 🙂 After the massaging is done you can use lukewarm water to give the baby a bath.
If you are not planning to give a bath, take a clean and soft napkin and just wipe the excess oil off baby’s body and face. This step is essential as it ensures that baby don’t slip from your hands after the massage.
Never leave oil on baby’s body as it can attract insects and ants. After massaging and bathing dress the baby comfortably.
One can also feed the baby just after a massage. Most likely your baby will fall asleep after the feed.
Hope this post on how to massage your baby was of help to you parents. Please let me know your experience of massaging baby all by yourself.
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Image credit: Valentina Powers