Massaging of baby with oil is an age old ancient ritual, which was quite commonly practiced in India from centuries ago. Presently this common practice has now slowly started to gain popularity in the western countries too, where use of baby moisturizing creams or lotions is mostly preferred for baby massage.
But in today’s fast paced society, massaging of baby with oil has been ignored by the present day generation. In the previous old days the task of bathing & massaging of babies was assigned to a trained baby caregiver nanny or taken care by the experienced elder women at home. Sadly in present day scenario such practice has taken a back seat, due to overburdened family responsibilities and due to growing popularity of nuclear families.
The act of massaging of baby with oil is a delicate process, which has been passed on from generations in India. This particular act needs to be practiced with caution or under supervision of an 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 an 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 in strengthen the bones, add flexibility to the joints and improve blood circulation along skin texture. Addition of body rub powder or any kind of flour mixed 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.
Right time for Massage
According to baby health experts, the right time to start giving 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 morning bath and in the evenings for better sleep. Studies have shown that a daily massage of 15-30 minutes before 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 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 in 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 an oil for a massage will let your hands to 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 summers. Although the most common ones used in India are the naturally mild fragranced coconut, almond & olive etc.
Considering readymade Oil
There are a whole lot of various massage oils & lotions available from top baby skincare brands to choose from, which can give beneficial results when used on regular basis. These products have been thoroughly researched & upgraded from time to time and are completely baby safe. The readymade ones have been formulated to be mild fragranced & non-staining in nature which can be easily applied before or after a baby bath time. Although when it comes to choosing a readymade oil for massage purpose, consulting a healthcare expert is mostly advised.
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 massage or feel 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 massage needs to end and which strokes are liked or disliked. Just to keep your baby entertained during such sessions use of 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 the bone density and to keep the baby’s skin moisturized. Many new parents nowadays have neglected this common practice in India due to restrained family values & ties. But for those who have chosen to follow the age old practice of baby massaging on regular basis have seen beneficial results according to children’s specialist.