How to massage your baby

Research has shown that massage can relax babies, improve their sleep patterns, and calm them when they are irritable. Infant massage should last around 15 minutes. Don’t worry if you have only 5 or 10 minutes: even a short massage is good for your baby. Choose a warm, quiet room and play background music if you like.

Using a lotion or oil will help reduce friction and make the massage more soothing. Make sure you use a product that is gentle enough for your infant’s sensitive skin. Whether you choose lotion or oil, place a small amount in your palm and rub your hands together to distribute.

Try the following strokes:

  • Resting hands – Begin your massage by gently resting your hands on your baby’s tummy. This resting hand technique is used before massaging any body area and is a good way for your baby to feel secure and enjoy touch.
     
  • Legs – With one hand, gently hold your baby’s ankle. Place your other hand at the top of your baby’s thigh, moulding it around the leg, and then slide it to the ankle. Repeat the firm yet gentle rhythmic strokes, one hand after the other.
     
  • Tummy – When your baby’s umbilical cord is healed, a gentle massage on the tummy can help with digestion and tummy troubles. Start by making contact with your baby’s tummy with a reassuring relaxed hand. If your baby is happy, make gentle padding strokes, with one hand following the other.
     
  • Back – Holding your baby close to your chest, massage your baby’s back beginning at the neck, swooping down to their bottom.

As you give your baby more massages, you’ll gradually find a routine that works best for both of you. And with all your love and attention focused on him, you and your baby will be truly in touch.

For more detailed guides on baby massage, for various ages, please visit our massage section.