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How to massage your baby

WebMD Medical Reference
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

Why should I do it?

Massage can help boost your baby's circulation, improve digestion and bowel function and promote peaceful sleep. It can also encourage muscle and joint development and help your baby become aware of how her body moves.

Best of all though, massage can create in minutes the kind of contentment that normally takes hours of rocking to achieve.

Will I need to take a baby massage class?

The basics are fairly simple, but if you're feeling a bit nervous, a class can be a great confidence-booster. Your health visitor should be able to recommend one. If they can't, you can find your own through the International Association of Infant Massage.

How do I do it?

  • Make sure the room is warm and your baby is not hungry or tired. You should be comfortable and calm. If you're feeling tense, try deep, slow breathing to help you relax.
  • Make sure you have everything you need to hand, including massage oil. The oil must be suitable for use on a baby. Baby oil or a simple pure almond oil or olive oil is best.
  • Once you have everything set up, lie your baby face down on a warm towel, but do not leave her unattended from this point.
  • Using a little oil, make long, gentle strokes up her back and along her arms and legs. Continue to do this for as long as your baby is happy.
  • If your baby wants to change position, gently move her and carry on, ensuring that she is still warm enough.
  • Continue for as long as you like, or until your baby gets grizzly.

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Reviewed on August 22, 2017

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