How to Give a Baby a Massage

Start by laying a towel or blanket down on a warm surface and putting the baby on the towel on her back with her feet nearest you. When giving a massage, oil your hands, not the baby. Pour a small amount of massage oil into one of your palms and rub your hands together until the oil is warm and spread over your fingers and palms.

Work each arm and leg in sequence, completely massaging one extremity before moving on to the next. For both arms and legs, basic baby massage strokes start with your hand in a C shape, cradling the limb. Starting near the body, work a broad stroke out toward the hand or foot, and then a firm stroke back toward the centre of the body. You can also twist your hand as you work up or down the baby’s limbs. Always end each extremity pushing the blood toward the heart, and stroke each finger and toe.

When massaging a baby’s tummy, always go in a clockwise direction. This follows the natural direction of the intestines to encourage proper digestion. Abdominal massage in a baby can help relieve constipation and wind.

For chest strokes, work from the heart toward the edges of the body, combining both full-hand strokes and fingertip strokes.

To massage a baby’s back, turn her onto her tummy. When she is face down, it is important to keep talking to her and maintain some physical contact with her at all times, since she cannot see you. Work the back in broad strokes from shoulder to bottom, as well as using small circular movements of your fingertips.

To end a baby massage, spread your fingers apart slightly and brush her back from head to bottom, repeating more lightly each time until it is natural to stop.