What is a baby massage?

It might sound like some minimalist spa treatment, but “baby massage” is actually one of the best-kept secrets of parenting. Research shows that gentle, therapeutic massage provides healthy stimulation to babies’ central nervous systems. This means that regularly applied baby massage may help Baby sleep soundly, cry less, poop often, and fight off common germs. Ready to get started yet?

Step #1: Time it right

The best window for a successful baby massage is any period when they are at their most relaxed. Try timing a massage for immediately after a diaper change or a bath.

Step #2: Keep it soft (and take it slow)

Before beginning the massage, be sure to remove any rings or jewelry from your hands. Then, gently lay Baby down on a soft towel or blanket, with a pillow beneath their head so that they are looking up at you. Make sure Baby is stripped down to their diaper before doing this. Once the two of you are in position, grab some baby oil (avoid products with fragrance, which can irritate babies’ skin) and proceed to…

Step #3: Commence rubdown

There’s no specified order for performing a baby massage, but there are time-tested techniques that most babies enjoy. For example, when working the lower body, try wrapping your hands around their legs and gliding them up and down slowly several times. Once you’ve progressed to the tummy, place your fingertips around their navel area and rotate them clockwise. If Baby is responding happily, you can try a gentle face massage by tracing a heart shape around their facial features with your index fingers until they meet right at the chin.

These suggestions are just enough for giving Baby a taste of what baby massage has to offer. If the first massage is a hit, then by all means, ask your doctor or any fellow parents about more advanced techniques.

  • “The secret to a smarter baby.” Healthy Children. American Academy of Pediatrics, June 1 2010. Retrieved June 28 2017.
  • Nancy Gottesman. “The Benefits of Baby Massage.” Parents. Meredith women’s network. Retrieved June 28 2017. 
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