Methods for Massaging the Baby
Tips on massaging technique
Babies seem really small and fragile,
but there is no need to handle them gingerly as if they were made of porcelain.
Touch your baby firmly. This will communicate a feeling of strength and
confidence to her. All your strokes should be long, slow and rhythmic.
The idea is that the experience should be comfortable and stimulating at
the same time.
Is there a particular order of massaging the baby’s body
Experts suggest that it helps to
first start with the legs and feet. Then move on to the stomach and
torso of the baby, follow it up with massaging the arms and hand, then
massage the baby’s face. Finally turn the baby over (or make the
baby sit, if she has learnt to sit) and massage the baby’s back.
You can end this massage routine by gently exercising the baby’s arms and
Tips for massaging arms and legs
Use your thumbs, one after another
to push the bottom of the foot from heel to toe. Then squeeze each toe.
Pull back gently on the balls of the foot and then press the bottom of
the foot with your thumbs. Use your thumbs to push the top of the foot
toward the ankle and make small circles around the ankle with your thumbs.
Various Techniques for massaging Legs and Feet
“Squeeze and twist” Technique:
“Swedish milking” Technique:
Massaging the Stomach
Massaging the stomach helps relieve
gas and constipation. Stroke the baby’s stomach, one hand following the
other, as if you were scooping sand toward yourself. Repeat this exercise,
grasping the baby’s legs by the ankle with your left hand and massaging
the stomach with your right hand. Flatten your thumbs near the baby’s navel
and push out to the sides. Walk your fingertips across the baby’s stomach
from left to right.
Massaging the Chest
Place both your hands together in
the middle of the chest and push out to the sides, following the ribcage.
Without lifting the hands from the body, bring them in a heart shaped motion
to the centre again.
Massaging Arms and Hands
Adapt the milking techniques used
on the legs to the arms. Indian milking would involve beginning at the
shoulders and moving outwards towards the hands, whereas Swedish milking
would mean the opposite motion. Squeeze and twist the baby’s arms. Roll
each finger between your index finger and thumb. Stroke the top of the
hand. Massage the wrist, making small circles all around. Shake the arm
gently and pat it all over.
Massaging the Face
Baby’s facial muscles become quite
tense from sucking, teething and crying. Place your fingers flat in the
middle of her forehead and push out to the sides. Press lightly over the
eyes with your thumbs. Push up on the bridge of the nose and then down
across the cheeks with your thumbs. Make a smile on the upper and lower
lips using your thumbs. Use your fingertips to make small circles around
the jaw. Massage the ears, backs of the ears and the chin with your fingertips.
Massaging the Back
Place the baby on your lap or on
the floor and turn her over on her tummy. Place both hands at the top of
the back at right angles to the spine. Move your hands back and forth in
opposite directions, moving up and down the back from the shoulders to
the buttocks. Keep your right hand on the buttocks and stroke your left
hand down to meet the right at the buttocks. Now hold the legs with your
right hand and repeat the motion, swooping your left hand down all the
way down to the ankles. Make small circles on the back with your fingertips.
Exercise the limbs with Gentle Movements
Hold the baby’s arms at the wrist, stretch them out to the sides, then cross them on her chest twice. Holding the legs at the ankles cross them at the stomach four times, then stretch them out straight. Push the knees together up into the tummy, then stretch them out straight.
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