Childcare and You

Childcare and You

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Importance of an Oil Massage for your Baby and How to do it

Baby massage has been an ancient tradition in India and could date back up to 3,000 years. Though it is hard to know exactly where it originated from, the practice of massaging babies from birth up to 6 months has been handed down through the ages by the mothers to their daughters and is now practiced worldwide.

I’ve realized a long time ago, that the old wise people in the villages used tried and tested methods that impacted everyone’s lives and baby massage is one that is primarily done to bond you with your baby just as importantly as nursing your baby does. Baby massage connects you emotionally with your baby and promotes a surge of maternal love within you. You begin to understand every little movement of your baby, the gurgles and giggles and the flailing arms and legs and can carry on your own unique way of communicating with your baby.

My children enjoyed the ritual of oil massages as babies and would gurgle loudly whenever I crossed their legs and arms diagonally. Massaging your newborn baby transmits your love through your hands to your baby and makes them feel loved and secure. It is the beginning of a lifelong foundation of love, trust and faith between you and your baby. Massaging your baby alleviates post natal depression that some mothers are likely to feel soon after giving birth. When you return home tired after a day’s work, massaging your little bundle of joy will chase your tiredness away. It is also a wonderful opportunity for your husband to partake in the ritual and share a wonderful family time together.

Besides enjoying emotional advantages, massages strengthen your baby’s limbs and activate growth hormones inside their body as well as enhance the production of enzymes needed for proper body growth. If your baby is a boy, ensure that you massage his nipples well in order to prevent them from looking larger and fuller as he gets older. A new born baby’s nipples may on occasion secrete tiny drops of milk that needs to be squeezed out totally.

The best massage oils for babies are coconut oil, sesame oil, mustard oil and almond oil. In some cultures, a few grains of pepper is added to coconut oil and heated and used after straining and cooling it. Pepper is believed to help warm the body up. Alternately, a few fenugreek seeds and garlic pods are added in mustard oil and heated and used after it cools. Garlic is believed to enhance immunity while fenugreek is good as a relaxant. 

Click on the video to view how to massage your baby

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