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It is said that massage is the art of using touch to communicate with your baby. It's a great way to spend time with your baby, and it can help you bond with them, too. We will tell you more in this article about the emotional and physical benefits and also share our best advice.


What are the benefits of baby massage?

Before babies are able to understand language, we often communicate with them and provide comfort through touch. If a baby is crying, for example, we will naturally carry it, cuddle it or caress it.

Infant massage was introduced about 30 years ago in neonatology wards to support the development of premature babies in intensive care units. Some studies have found that babies in intensive care units who were massaged spent less time in the hospital, performed better on developmental tests, and had slightly fewer postnatal complications.

Daily infant massage has many benefits, which the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) classifies into several categories: interaction, stimulation, relief and relaxation. Researchers have found that these benefits extend not only to the child, but also to mothers and the whole family.

Let’s briefly describe these advantages here:

Interaction . Regular massage promotes quality time between parent and baby, encouraging feelings of attachment, love and trust. This close and early contact with parents can foster the development of empathy and trust in the child.

Stimulation . Infant massage stimulates all body systems - including the digestive, hormonal, immune and circulatory systems - as well as muscles and joints. Babies can have better body awareness, leading to better coordination and balance.

Relief . According to parents, massage can help relieve gastrointestinal issues such as colic and constipation, teething and growing pains.

Relaxation . Infant massage has been linked to improved sleep patterns in babies and their parents, as well as reduced stress hormones and increased feel-good hormones.


When to start baby massage?

There are no specific guidelines regarding the minimum age at which one can begin massage. Although care can be provided from birth at home, some babies may find formal, structured massage too stimulating in the first few days.

When it comes to baby massage classes, it may be worth waiting until Baby is a few weeks old, when his routine is more stable and his behavior is sometimes more predictable. This will be all the more pleasant for the parents as for the child. Do not hesitate to seek advice from a midwife around you if you are interested.


Preparing to massage your baby

Pick a time when your baby is content and alert, when he's not tired or hungry, and when he's interested in what's going on around him. This makes it more likely that he is ready to interact with you.

Try sitting on the floor, bed or couch, with your baby securely on a towel in front of you. The most important thing is that the room is quiet and warm.

Find a comfortable position with good eye contact, no overhead light, and where your baby is warm.

Feel free to introduce the massage after the bath and before bedtime, this will help soothe him for bedtime. Consider making it a wellness routine.


How to massage baby?

Before you begin, "ask permission" by rubbing a little oil between your hands near your baby's ears, and ask, "Can I massage you?" It may sound a little strange, but your child will become familiar with this sign and know that the massage is about to begin. It also allows your baby to let you know if he doesn't want to be massaged.

It is good to massage your child's whole body using different techniques. To help you get started, we've outlined some leg and foot moves below.

As soon as baby is ready for the massage, gently cup one of your baby's legs between your palms. Then, with one hand, hold your baby's ankle firmly. Mold your other hand around your child's upper thigh, then slide it down the leg toward the ankle. Switch hands and repeat. Always hold your child's ankle in place and perform slow, fluid movements.

Then take one foot between your hands. Use your thumbs to step over the ball of your foot, heel to toe, one at a time. Repeat with the other foot.

You can repeat each stroke several times, always responding to what your child seems to like.

And here small techniques in image:


What products to use?

Fragile and vulnerable, the skin of toddlers needs special attention to stay hydrated and protected. During the first years, their skin is immature. It has difficulty defending itself against external aggressions such as cold, wind, sun and dry air, and can therefore be easily irritated. We have a dedicated article about it here .

Pioupiou's Mama Baby oil is a safe and ideal option for massage thanks to its soft touch and nourishing side. Our product is dermatologically tested on sensitive skin, compatible from birth and very healthy with 100% natural ingredients. Used in massage, our silky oil will protect, soften and nourish the skin deeply and safely. It also calms itching and soothes possible irritations.

If you prefer a slightly less oily texture, you can also use the Soft Balm to massage Baby.

A few tips for use:

  • Take a few drops of oil or a dab of balm in the palm of your hand.
  • Rub between your palms and warm the product.
  • Gently massage in large circular movements - belly, back, limbs...
  • Wrap your hands completely around your baby's body during the massage.


General and safety tips for baby massage

Here we have summarized some tips for having a good time:

  • Use safe products. Mom Baby oil de Pioupiou is very suitable for massages.
  • Always keep one hand on your child when using the products or picking up accessories. It's important to have everything to hand before you start.
  • When massaging your child's arms or legs, always support the ankle or wrist with one hand.
  • When massaging your child's tummy with a circular motion, go clockwise rather than counter-clockwise - it's better for digestion etc.
  • Avoid massaging your baby immediately after a feed. Wait at least 45 minutes, or until your baby is calm and alert - probably before bedtime or after a diaper change.
  • Make gentle but firm movements, without tickling.
  • Use massage as a daily routine for baby.
  • Follow your baby's cues to know when to stop. A massage can last 5, 10 or 30 minutes, depending on your mood. If he cries, squirms or falls asleep, these are signs that need to be stopped.
  • Remember to relax and don't worry too much about your technique. Talk softly, sing or hum to your baby, and smile to show her that this is a fun, sweet and loving activity you can share.


Enjoy the moment!

If your baby doesn't seem to like the massage right away, don't worry. This is a new experience for both of you and sometimes takes a bit of getting used to. Try doing this for a few minutes the first time, then increase the time as your child gets used to it.

Photos: Mary Fernandez Studio for Pioupiou Cosmetics
References: IAIM, https://raisingchildren.net.au/newborns/health-daily-care/massage/baby-massage
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