1. Always start at the legs for newborns, as this is least intrusive area. Begin by holding Baby’s right foot in your left hand, gently stroking up the leg with your right hand, from the outside of the ankle, up over the knee and to the inner thigh, then sweeping down to the inside ankle. Repeat each stroke 2-3 times.
2. Using both hands, apply a gentle ‘wringing’ action, squeezing up and down the length of the leg, finishing at the ankle.
3. Use your thumb to lightly circle the soles of the feet, gently squeezing and releasing Baby’s toes one by one. Gently move one hand off Baby’s leg and onto the other leg, then move your second hand over so as not to break the flow of fluid movement. Continue to massage Baby’s other leg using strokes explained in Steps 1-3.
4. Move up toward the tummy area and make contact with this new ‘space’ so Baby becomes familiar with the area to be massaged next. This is an ideal time to introduce circle shapes and shapes of letters, even spelling out words on the skin, making the massage more enjoyable particularly for the older child. Be sure to maintain eye contact as you explain the shape or word you are making to your child. Keep in mind strokes should be in a clockwise direction and should be confined to the abdomen only. Massage Baby’s tummy from YOUR left to right, (clockwise) in the direction of their digestive tract, using small circles with fingertips or the flat of your hand and taking care to avoid the umbilical cord area.
5. Complete the front by placing both hands in the centre of Baby’s chest and sweep up and out over the centre of the chest, over the shoulders and hugging the entire length of the arms finishing off at the fingertips . Using both hands massage Baby’s arms using a gentle squeezing up and down, finishing off at the fingertips. Massage each finger from knuckle to tip but do not attempt to restrain your baby if he/she curls fingers, kicks or moves arms during any part of the massage.
6. Gently turn Baby over and use the whole hand to stroke from the shoulders, down Baby’s back to the buttocks – take care of Baby’s delicate spinal area and instead always work either side of the spine.
7. Use both thumbs to make small circles around the top of the buttocks using both hands, starting toward the middle and moving out to the sides. Gently knead or ‘roll’ the buttocks simultaneously with both hands using a press and release action.
8. Move onto the back of Baby’s legs and use a gentle wring and release action starting at the top of one leg, massaging from the thigh all the way down the back of the leg and onto the soles of the foot. Move hands one at a time gently onto the second leg and repeat these movements.
9. Using long, light and fluid strokes from the head to Baby’s toes, finish off the back area.
10. Carefully turn your baby over and stroke across the forehead using fingertips of both hands. Starting in the middle and gliding out toward Baby’s temples. Pause for a moment and use feather-light circles around the temple area. Do not massage near the eye/eyelids and take care not to get oil near Baby’s eye area.
Catherine Cervasio is a qualified massage therapist and holds a Diploma in Aromatherapy. Catherine is the founder of baby WORKSHOP, producers of Aromababy natural skincare. For more information visitAromababy.
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