Seeing the tiny little baby for the very first time, mothers are often overwrought with emotions and many of them are loathe to massage the baby, taken aback by their fragility and their size. Indeed I’m not surprised at their reluctance to do so because when you first see that squirmy, wormy little being your first thought is OMG, he/she is so small and are simply scared to lift up the infant leave alone massage him.
It doesn’t help that many new mothers are advised by pediatricians not to massage their babies dismissing it as just another old wives’ tale. I, however, beg to differ. There’s something to be said for the traditional oil massage given to babies especially during their first year and I would strongly advise every new mother to follow this ancient practice.
Well, all babies are small even the ones who are relatively “big” babies but there’s no need to be scared or worried about their fragility. Of course you have to be careful but a gentle massage with almond oil or olive oil is really the best thing you can do to make your child sleep well. Yes, a well massaged baby sleeps well for a good hour or so if nicely swaddled after a bath and you, dear mommy can catch up with some sleep too!
Soft smooth and supple skin
Baby’s skin is soft and delicate and there’s nothing like oil to keep it supple and moisturised. Of course, you shouldn’t use oil that causes any irritation or if the baby has any skin conditions that can get aggravated with oil but oil acts as an emollient
The soft gentle, rhythmic strokes soothe your baby and soothe you! As you touch your baby in a warm, comfortable room, your massage will probably be accompanied by your singing or humming along or perhaps some inconsequential chatter.
Yes, this is an activity that will have the stress flow out of your body too! The soft gentle exercise of baby’s limbs, the gentle caress of his back/stomach will help ease the gas that often tends to build up in their little tummies.
Best oil to use.
So now comes the question, which is the best oil to use. I’d give the most practical answer – use the oil that your granny used. In some cases it would be coconut oil, in others it would be mustard or peanut. Modern mothers tend to use Johnson’s oil or specially formulated baby oil that takes allergies etc into account.
Always ensure that there is no draft or cold air while massaging and bathing the baby. Massage the baby before a bath and always keep the baby on a piece of plastic on a changing table or hold the baby firmly on your legs the traditional Indian way. Most people suggest warming the oil so that the baby’s skin is not shocked with cold oil.
Remember you are not frying pakoras, so use just a little oil while massaging the baby – an oil baby is difficult to hold and can easily slip. The idea is not to “oil” the baby but to use the oil to help the smooth movement of your hands.
Gently massage the baby with upward strokes on the limbs and circular movements on the back and stomach. Folding the arms across the chest and bending the legs to the stomach are a good way to exercise the limbs – but do this with care and gently movements.
Dabur’s new Baby oil combines the benefits of both almond and olive and is great for a non-greasy baby massage. However I must add that I haven’t used it yet. Perhaps I will when my next grandchild comes along.
A word of caution
- Be sure to use a good oil that is specially formulated for babies and always use a little bit to make sure your baby is not allergic to it.
- Some traditional maalishwalis put oil in baby’s nose and ears. DON’T do this ever.
- Ensure that there is no draft while massaging the baby
- Don’t massage the baby soon after a feed
- Always bathe the baby after the massage to remove excess oil.
I am participating in the #FirstLove activity at BlogAdda in association with Dabur
- Do You Massage Your Baby?(thirstiesbaby.com)
- Bonding with Baby During Infant Massage(whotv.com)
- Baby Massage(druidsheath.co.uk)
- Ways to massage a baby(completeherbalguide.com)