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West Hampstead NW6 with a zumba yoga and pilates studio, 194 West End treatment room and a health shop. healthunter healthtown

Learn How to Massage Your Baby Course London NW6 West Hampstead

How to give your baby a massage

Before beginning 'ask permission' by rubbing a little oil between your hands near your baby’s ears, and ask 'can I give you a massage?' This may sound a little strange but your child will become familiar with this cue and know that massage is about to start. It also gives your baby a chance to let you know if they don’t feel like a massage.

It's great to massage the whole of your child's body using a range of techniques. To get you started, we describe some strokes below for the legs and feet.

  • Once you have 'asked permission’, gently hold one of your baby's legs between your palms.

  • Then, with one hand, hold your baby's ankle securely. Mould your other hand around the top of your child's thigh, then slide it down the leg towards the ankle. 

  • Swap hands and repeat. Always keep your child's ankle supported and use slow, flowing strokes.

  • Next, cradle your child's foot in your hands and use your thumbs to stroke over the sole of the foot from heel to toes, one thumb after another. Hold your fingers in a tripod grip and gently tug each toe between thumb and finger.

  • Holding your child's foot in your hands, walk the thumbs across the middle third of the foot from one side to the other like a little caterpillar crawling on a leaf.

  • You could also do circles on the palms of their hands singing ‘Round and round the garden like a teddy bear’. Continue with finger and thumb tugs.

  • Finish by repeating the stroking action in the opposite direction, i.e. from ankle to thigh.

  • You can repeat each stroke a few times, always responding to what your child seems to enjoy.


          What is baby massage?


Baby massage is a process where a baby is lovingly held and stroked. Mums and dads (or any other person special to the baby) use specially formulated oils and follow a sequence of soothing strokes and holds while making eye contact and chatting or singing.


What’s so good about it?


The International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) explain the four categories that show the benefit of baby massage:


  • Interaction: this is a focused time where you are bonding with your baby by lovingly touching them and talking or singing to them. 


  • Stimulation: The specific strokes focus on different areas of the body. Touching your baby helps him to make sense of himself and start to work out how different parts of the body move and work.  Massage stimulates the nervous system which regulates our organs so it can help to keep the heart beat steady.


  • Relief: Research shows that baby massage can help to alleviate symptoms of colic, reflux, constipation and even teething. Special strokes around the cheeks, ears and jaw can help with teething grumbles, while movements around the tummy and legs can aid digestion and wind. 


  • Relaxation: This is not bath time, or nappy changing, or going out, or playing, or eating…or any of the other fantastic, but sometimes quite chaotic things you do to have fun with your baby. It’s a calm, focused activity which is great for you too.