What is baby massage?
Massage is the use of therapeutic (healing/calming) touch to help you relax both physically and mentally. Baby massage is well researched and is not only good for your baby but is also good for the family as it helps to promote bonding.
What are the benefits of baby massage?
- Good for condition of the skin
- Stimulates the circulation, encouraging blood supply to the muscles and tissue
- Improves digestion and can prevent/help with wind, colic and constipation.
- Encourages weight gain
- Stimulates endorphins – the body’s natural painkillers
- Encourages joint mobility and flexibility
- Usually calming and relaxing
- Improves sleep patterns
- Encourages bonding
- Family involvement
- Promotes confidence
- ‘Allows touch’
- Soothing and calming
Is baby massage safe?
Baby massage is a very safe method of care but please consider the points listed below before massaging your baby and if you are unsure then seek advice from your midwife, health visitor, doctor or a qualified baby massage instructor.
Questions to consider before massaging your baby
1. Is your baby well?
If your baby is poorly, particularly if he/she has a high temperature, their circulation is already increased and your baby needs to rest.
Seek professional advice if your baby is unwell.
Gentle stroking and soothing movements can be calming and relaxing for your baby but do not perform a full massage routine.
2. Has your baby had a recent immunisation?
- Avoid baby massage for 48 hours after the immunisation in case your baby develops a temperature.
- Again, the stroking, soothing movements can be calming and relaxing.
- If your baby appears well after 48 hours, you can massage but be very gentle over the injection site for about a week.
3. Has your baby got a rash/skin problem?
Babies (especially when little) have sensitive skin and are prone to slight rashes, spots and dry skin patches. If you are at all concerned about the condition of your baby’s skin, check with your GP, midwife or health visitor before using any form of massage. Skin infections are not common but need ruling out. If your baby has a skin infection it is important not to massage until fully treated, to prevent spreading the condition. If your baby has a skin condition (eg eczema) and you are prescribed a cream or lotion, use this as your massage medium with the exception of steroid creams.
Your health professional will advise you on the use of steroid creams.
You know your baby best, but it is advisable…
- Not to wake your baby for a massage.
- Not to massage your baby against his/her will.
- Not to force any movements.
- To stop if your baby becomes upset. Settle him/her and return to the massage if/when your baby is ready and happy.
- To wait for about an hour after a feed to allow for digestion. A stimulating massage just after a feed can make your baby vomit.
Baby massage classes are offered at some children’s centres. To find a class near you contact your local children’s centre or look online.
The information on this page is based on the Baby Massage Guide produced by Helen Carr (Complementary Therapy Midwife). To download a copy of this guide please click on the link below.
Baby Massage Guide [5mb] PDF