Massaging your baby is an excellent way of communicating with baby and deepening that close bond between you. It's a wonderful way to spend time relaxing and can help establish a routine. Above all your baby will love you for it.
Your guide to how to give your newborn baby a relaxing massage:
1. You can start massaging your baby from birth. Touch can help her to develop and bond with you, as well as be calming. It's most effective if done every day for the first six months when she's in a quiet, alert mood.
2. Lay her on a flat, soft surface like a carpet or towel in a warm room. Make sure your hands are clean and warm.
3. Unperfumed, natural oils like almond or apricot are best to use, as babies have such sensitive senses. Smelling each other's natural scents also helps you to bond. Do a patch test first as babies' skin is very sensitive.
4. With her lying on her back, use a firm but gentle touch to trace from her ribs to her hips on the right side in an 'I' shape.
5. Then stroke from left to right across her tummy and sweep down with a short stroke, like a sideways 'L'.
6. Finally trace an upside down 'U' from her left to right hip, arching up over her tummy. To remember the motions, think of it as the 'I love you' massage because of the 'I', 'L' and 'U' shapes you make.
7. Keep eye contact, smile, and talk or sing to your baby as you massage her to keep her relaxed and help with bonding.
8. If she's enjoying it turn her over and repeat the motions on her back, but stop any time she doesn't appear to like it.
9. Gentle clockwise circular movements on her tummy can also help colicky pains and wind.
10. Add some extra oil to your hands if they get dry at any point.
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