Massage for Babies and Toddlers

January 29, 2014

Your baby responds to touch from the moment he’s been born. By giving a massage to your baby and toddler she will benefit from stronger immune system, better blood circulation and body tonus, reducing stress level, calming and soothing, better sleep, muscles straitening, toxins release, less colic, and better digestive system. But a nice and gentle massage has also emotional benefits – it is an excellent way to continue the bonding process, and to express your love and care.

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How to give a massage to your child
You could start massaging parts of the body only, like back, chests, or feet, gradually increasing the massage time until you make a full body massage. If you have stopped massaging your child for a while for any reason, you can always renew the massage, but do it slowly again and start with partial massage initially.
Your partner can also give your kid a massage, so he could benefit from straightening the emotional bond between him a

nd the child while experiencing the pleasure and relaxing atmosphere.

The fundaments for a good massage – the preparation

  1. Always “ask” you child’s permission to give her a massages, even if she is a month’s old. Not all babies and children like massages, and even they do, everyone has his “don’t touch me” moments. Choose a time when both your little one and you are relaxed, with at least an hour gap between last and next feeding. Best time for massaging your baby and toddler is after bath and before going to bed, or quiet afternoons, when she is feeling calm. Start touching her palms and hands, and look for her reaction. If she looks like she is enjoying it, you may continue.
  2. Warm up the room, as you are going to undress her. Place a clean warm towel on a flat surface (make sure you are ready for little “wee accidents”). Have a soft cotton cloth handy to place over the parts of the body not being massaged at the moment.
  3. Prepare your massage oils. Blend a few drops of lavender, mandarin, rose, jasmine, sandalwood or chamomile essential oils – depending you child’s age, into a vegetable oil. Concentration should not be more that 1%. e.g. 1ml essential oils per 100ml vegetable oil. There are approximately 20 drops in 1ml essential oil. Shake bottle well to mix. Never use essential oils if your child has a chronic illness without professional help. Essential oils are powerful way to treat illnesses, but only if used accordingly. Otherwise they might be harmful. Please refer to our aromatherapy section for further information
  4. Warm up your hands by putting some oil on them and rubbing together. When you massage, place a lot of oil on your hands regularly and make sure you never do a “dry” massage, as rubbing the skin that way may cause irritations.
  5. Involve all senses – when touching your child, communicate with eyes, smile, kiss her and sing or whisper gently. This will encourage your emotional connection even further. Place a couple of lavender oil drops in an oil burner. Make massages the most pleasurable experience for both of you.
  6. Remember never to push your baby while massaging. Use nice and gentle movements only, touching lovingly. If at any time your child feels discomfort, stop massaging her, and give her a kiss. But don’t force her, so next time she can enjoy it even more.
  7. Prepare yourself for the massage, too. Leave your worries, thoughts about your daily routine and responsibilities for a while. Try to relax your mind and body and concentrate on the pleasant experience you are about to create.

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Step-by-stem guide to a full-body massage

  1. Start with the feet. Take the right foot and start massaging the top of the foot – from fingers to ankle. Do it for 20 sec., or until your child lets you do it. Using you thumbs, start pressing gently under toes; then squeeze each of the toes one by one. Finally using a “thumb over thumb” technique, massage the sole area from heel to toes for a minute. Do the same with the other foot.
  1. Continue with the legs. Massage legs gently one by one, moving your right hand from tights to feet, followed by the other hand. This is called “hand over hand” technique. Do it for a minute with each leg or while your child feels comfortable. Then take each foot with your hands and begin moving them rhythmically towards her tummy, just like cycling. Do it for another minute.
  1. Tummy. Place your palm gently over the stomach and start massaging from just below the ribs. Always massage the tummy area clockwise. This helps with digestion. Be careful not to push hard. Do it for a minute. Then place both of your hand over the stomach, and start massaging from middle to sides horizontally. If your baby is colicky, tummy massage may help and sooth her.
  1. Chests. Place your hands over the chests. Using your thumbs, massage from middle to sides, “drawing” an “arc”-shape. This will “open” the chests and will allow your child to breath freely. This is a very useful massage technique in case your little one has a cough or a respiratory infection.
  1. Go on with the arms and hands. Massaging techniques for arms and hands are similar to those for legs and feet. Start with the right hand, using the “hand-over-hand” technique from arms for wrist. Do it for a minute. Then continue with the wrist, gently massaging the top of the wrist, and the squeezing and rolling the fingers one by one. When you finish, do the same with the left hand.
  1. Slowly move to the back. Turn your little one over, so she can lie on her tummy. You can now massage her back. Place your right hand over her neck. Start moving the hand from the neck to the bottom, making sure you don’t push hard, as the spina of baby and young child can damage easily. Follow your right hand with the left one; continue for a minute. Then starting at the bottom of her back using the palm of your hand, put your hands either side of the spine and gently stroke up towards the shoulders for another 30sec. You can also make small circular movements with your fingertips going gently up and down the back.
  1. Finish with a relaxing head massage. If you are massaging a small baby, be extremely careful with the area around the fontanel, which is very soft during the first few months. Using your palm, massage the scalp from top to neck with circular movements, making sure not to put any pressure. Now use your palm again to massage the forehead with circular movements from eyes to scalp. Head massage should be like fondling your child over the head. This last part usually is so relaxing that may even send your little one to bed. If you do it just before bed, it may be a great way to ensure good night sleep.

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Natural Baby and Toddler Cosmetics

Bath oils
Lavender bath
70ml apricot oil
30ml jojoba oil
5 drops lavender essential oil

Chamomile bath
70ml almond oil
30ml olive oil
5 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil

Massage oils
Very dry and eczema prone skin
50ml calendula oil
30ml evening primrose oil
20ml olive oil

Dry skin
50ml wheatgerm oil
20ml jojoba oil
20ml hemp seed oil
10ml avocado oil
5 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil

Everyday use
40ml Apricot oil
30ml calendula oil
20ml wheatgerm oil
10ml sunflower oil
5 drops lavender essential oil

Balms/ Salves
Dry and eczema prone skin balm

10g beeswax (melted in a double-saucepan until liquidised)
30g coconut butter (melted)
20g shea butter (melted)

Mix all the above ingredients.

Add 50ml evening primrose (add to the above mixture when cooled to approximately 37’C). Poor into a brown-glass jar.

Everyday use salve

30g shea butter
40g calendula oil
20g jojoba oil
10g apricot oil
5 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil

Nappy rash balm
(Start using it when the first signs of nappy rash appear)

20g beeswax (melted in a double-saucepan until liquidised)
30g coconut butter (melted)
50ml calendula oil

Nappy area salve – everyday use
20g shea butter
60ml calendula oil
20ml apricot oil
5 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil (optional)

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