Baby's massage can be a wonderful experience for both you and your baby. It is a chance for just the two of you to have a quiet, bonding moment.
Here we explain the benefits of baby massage and how to do it safely.
Create a relaxed atmosphere before you begin to massage your baby. If it is the first time you have tried it make sure there are no distractions to spoil the mood or upset your baby.
Choose a time when no-one else is in the house. Unplug your house phone, turn your mobile to silent and switch off the television. If you have a dog, or cat put it in another room. Ensure the room is warm and that there are no cold draughts. If you like, play some relaxing music but keep it at a low volume as it is important that your baby can hear you talk while you massage.
Have everything you need to hand, including massage or vegetable oil or baby moisturiser (you may choose not to use any lubricant), a towel or muslin square to mop up any accidents, a fresh nappy and clothes for afterwards.
If you do use oil, make sure that it doesn't contain nuts, that it isn't petroleum based or very heavily scented, dab a little on your baby’s skin to start with, just in case she has a reaction.
Place your baby on a warm towel (perhaps with a changing mat underneath) or sheepskin. Alternatively, you can place her on your lap.
Your baby can be completely naked, with just a nappy on or you might prefer to keep her vest on if you think it is a little cool.
It is a good idea to follow the same routine when massaging as your baby will take comfort from knowing what is coming next.
Make eye contact with your baby while you massage and talk (or sing) to her quietly and gently. If she seems to be uncomfortable or starts crying before you have finished the massage, stop and give her a cuddle.
Try to choose a time when your baby is between feeds so she won't be too hungry or too full. It's also best not to start just before her nap – aim for when she is awake but settled.
It can be a good idea to make it part of your baby’s bedtime routine, perhaps after a bath and before the last feed of the day. This will help her wind down and become calm, ready for her sleep.
For babies, a massage can be a wonderful time. It can sooth an unsettled baby and make her feel secure.
It can also ease minor digestive upsets such as wind and it can ease teething pains and congestion on the chest. Massaging her face can help to clear a blocked nose if she has a cold.