Massaging of baby with oil is an age-old ancient ritual, which was quite commonly practiced in India for centuries ago. Presently this common practice has now slowly started to gain popularity in western countries too, where the use of baby moisturizing creams or lotions is mostly preferred for baby massage.
But in today’s fast-paced society, massaging babies with oil has been ignored by the present-day generation. In the previous old days, the task of bathing & massaging babies was assigned to a trained baby caregiver nanny or taken care of by the experienced elder women at home. Sadly in the present-day scenario, such practice has taken a back seat, due to overburdened family responsibilities and due to the growing popularity of nuclear families.
The act of massaging of baby with oil is a delicate process, which has been passed on from generation in India. This particular action needs to be practiced with caution or under the supervision of experienced elder women, as the newborn baby’s body is fragile in nature. Any wrong handling or too much hand pressure can cause an everlasting negative impact of a lifetime on the baby’s body. So knowing the negatives, it is mostly advised to practice the process of baby massaging under the supervision of experienced elder women or assign it to a trained baby caregiver nanny.
Benefits of Baby Massage
Massaging of baby with oil on regular basis nourishes your baby’s skin and helps improve blood circulation. It works as a soothing therapy that helps in calming down your baby. Regularly massaging your baby with oil will help strengthen the bones, add flexibility to the joints and improve blood circulation along with the skin texture. The addition of body rub powder or any kind of flour mixed with oil rub is not advised due to its roughness in texture. Before introducing your baby to oil massage, it is always a good idea to have a skin patch test to see if your baby has a reaction due to sensitive skin.
The right time for a Massage
According to baby health experts, the right time to start giving a massage is when the baby is around one month old. This is the movement when a developing baby’s body can withstand the gentle caring pressure and absorb essential minerals present in the applied massage oil. The correct time for a massage is before a morning bath and in the evenings for better sleep. Studies have shown that a daily massage of 15-30 minutes before a bath will help in making your baby strong and agile.
Generally, massaging of baby with oil can be a messy process, so choosing the location wisely is advised along with the use of changing mats. As a part of a regular massage routine, gentle caressing & rhythmic moving of your baby’s ankles, wrists & fingers is advised for your baby’s body to stay agile. Regularly massaging the spine, back, neck, waist, hands, and feet of your baby is quite important as these parts need to gain strength to help support the baby’s body. Gentle feather touch strokes on the soles of your baby’s feet along with massaging the spine area is an important aspect of an overall baby massage.
Choosing the Oil
Using oil for a massage will let your hands smoothly glide all over your baby’s body and make your baby feel comfortable. But during the first month, massaging the baby with oil or cream is mostly discouraged as the top layer of a baby’s skin is very delicate and can get easily damaged. There is still limited evidence on which oil or cream is best to use for baby massage, especially during the summer. Although the most common ones used in India are the naturally mild fragranced coconut, almond & olive, etc.
Making the Baby ready for a Massage
It is always a good idea to make sure that your baby is well-rested before indulging your baby in oil massage. If your baby does cry during the massage or feels upset, you need to relax as it’s quite common. It’s a new experience for the baby and it can take a while of getting used to such massage routines. During massaging session, you need to watch out for clear indications from your baby’s side as to when the message needs to end and which strokes are liked or disliked. Just to keep your baby entertained during such sessions using soft toys or bathing toys, telling a story, or singing nursery rhymes can come in handy.
All we need to say is that the main objective of baby massage is to strengthen bone density and keep the baby’s skin moisturized. Many new parents nowadays have neglected this common practice in India due to restrained family values & ties. But those who have chosen to follow the age-old practice of baby massaging on regular basis have seen beneficial results according to children’s specialists.