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 Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is it necessary to give a baby a massage? Does this aid growth? If yes, how many times should it be given in a day? What type of oil should be used?

Swati (Washington, USA)

A: Massaging your baby with coconut oil once a day should suffice.

Q: My baby was born through c-section. She was slightly underweight, but is fine now. Can we start massaging her? The baby is so tiny and I have seen the malishwalis who don't massage the baby gently. I am too worried. Please advise.

Avantika (New Delhi, India)

A: You do not need any interventions and should keep the child exclusively on breast-feeding. As for massage, gentle massage done by the mother or grandmother is permissible PROVIDED there is no 'Kasrat' or twisting/stretching of the baby involved. We have seen many a cases of accidents like dislocated hips/shoulders, broken collarbones associated with the practice of vigorous massage. Moreover the massage should not entail squeezing of the nipple (which some massage bai's consider as removing witch's milk!) or putting oil in the nose or ears which are positively dangerous practices. You may use baby oil for the massage but if the child gets a rash, it may be better to change to olive oil. As for whether massage makes the child strong and agile...I don't think Carl Lewis was ever massaged as a child, and look at the medals he has won! Need I say more?

Dr. Gajendragadkar

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