Pip and I love doing baby massage! It’s one of our favorite times of day, and such a great way to connect, never mind all the wonderful benefits of infant massage. I’ve gotten away from doing it due to our busy nights, late dinners and then all the time and effort it takes to put her to sleep. She’s also less willing to sit still now. But I’d like to start offering it regularly again, so I’m hoping a post about it will encourage me.
Each night before bed she and I would get in bed and I’d sit cross legged in front of her and ask her if she wants a massage. I’d make the “massage” sign. (Soon Pip began to recognize this sign when I inadvertently did it, like when I rubbed sanitizer on my hands! She’d get that excited look in her eyes and I had to start hiding my hands when I used the sanitizer lol!) Whenever I ask her this, her eyes would get wide and hopeful and her little legs would stick straight out towards me like lightening rods.
We start by taking three deep breaths together. I put my hands on her belly and exaggerate three deep breaths, always maintaining eye contact. She’d always smile at me like I was being silly, and I’d grin back. This encouraged a connection between us and I loved it.
I use jojoba oil on my hands when I give her a massage. Jojoba oil is great- it’s a pure and organic oil, and you can find it at most natural food stores or drugstores. I always did the same routine every night, mostly so I wouldn’t forget things.
I’d start with the left leg and massage down (in a “milking the cow” motion), then rub circles around her ankles, rotate her feet, rub up her feet and pluck each teeny toe. Squee! Repeat on the right! Move up the body, doing belly massages to aid in digestion, then “criss cross” motions over her torso, then “soooo big” sweeping from shoulders to feet. That one in particular they say is useful for tiny babies, who don’t have a sense of space and where they begin/end yet. Then I’d gently rub circles on her temples, sweep my fingers behind her ears and around her jaw, and then do “shampoo circles” in her hair.
Our last pose is to end with my thumb resting lightly on her forehead, to center us both after the massage.
It’s important when doing these massages with your baby you never push their bodies in ways they are resisting, and come to the massage with good energy. You don’t want to transfer bad energy to your child, especially during a time that is supposed to remove stress!
I also created a silly song to go along with the routine, which Pip also now recognizes it and associates with our massages. Have fun with the massage! Having fun and being in the moment with it makes me want to go back and do it again, and I know my daughter picks up on my enjoyment of our massage time.
Do you have a special routine you do with your little one? Have you tried baby massage, and what did you think of it?