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How to Give Your Baby a Massage
Updated on
July 21, 2022

How to Give Your Baby a Massage

By Erica Chidi
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How to Give Your Baby a Massage.
How to Give Your Baby a Massage

Baby massage isn’t just soothing for your little one. It’s a mutually relaxing activity—a way to slow down, breathe and bond with your baby.

You don’t have to take my word that baby massage has a real impact. Research shows that massage can improve a baby’s sleep and relaxation, and reduce crying and stress. It’s a gift to you and your baby. Taking baby massage classes can help moms feel more confident and build stronger relationships with their babies; and it lowers stress levels for dads, too.

These are just a few of the reasons we’ve included baby massage in LOOM’s pregnancy and postpartum program, which guides you through all of the skills you need to care for your new baby. But everyone should have access to the basics of baby massage, so here are a few quick tips to get you started.

8 tips for how to give your baby a masssage

  1. Pick the right oil: Find an unscented cold-pressed, organic fruit or vegetable oil. Just a couple drops will reduce skin-to-skin friction and make for a smoother experience.

  2. Wait a while after meals: If your baby’s just eaten, a massage could upset their tummy and leave you with a major cleanup. Try waiting at least half an hour after they eat.

  3. Ask for permission: Sure, your baby can’t talk yet, but by pausing to ask if it’s okay to give them a massage–and waiting for some cooing or excited leg kicks in response–you’re starting to model the very basics of consent.

  4. Keep it simple: There are lots of baby massage moves out there, but try these basics: 1.) Apply even pressure from the top of your baby’s legs down to their toes, and 2.) Gently rub your baby’s tummy in a clockwise motion. (To see these moves in action, check out LOOM’s pregnancy and postpartum program.)

  5. Use a gentle touch: When you’re just starting out, stick to light pressure. As you learn what your baby likes, and as they grow, you can use a slightly firmer touch.

  6. See if they want more: Stop massaging your baby for a moment. Do they gaze expectantly into your eyes? Do they raise their eyebrows or open their mouth? These are signs that you’re good to keep going.

  7. Look for signs they’re done: If your baby is getting fussy, crying, furrowing their brow, yawning, turning away, or falling asleep, it probably means they’re done with the massage.

  8. Build a post-bath ritual: You can give your baby a massage any time, but after a bath your baby will be really ready for some relaxation. If both of you are enjoying these massages, you might want to make it a part of your baby’s regular bedtime routine.

This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content. Learn more about how we write Babylist content and review products, as well as the Babylist Health Advisory Board.