As a parent, you would surely have been into situations when your baby is crying and you have no clue how to soothe him/her. While such situations can be difficult and frustrating, it is necessary to understand what is bothering your little one. Your baby might be crying due to one or more of the following reasons: pain during teething, chest congestion, ear pain, abdominal pain, acid reflux, pain in muscles and bones due to growth spurts, or discomfort due to cold during winters. The solution? Cuddling the baby for a few minutes goes a long way in calming babies. A gentle and warm massage also provides therapeutic relief to babies in most situations.
Advantages Of Baby Oil Massage
Baby massage has been a standard practice in Indian households for centuries, owing to its benefits for holistic growth and development in babies. Massages help create a beautiful emotional connect between mother and child. Apart from reinforcing the value of human touch, massages also induce relaxation and help your baby sleep better. As per a 2008 study published in Infant Behavior Development, massage therapy over a period of 5 days significantly helps in reducing stress and discomfort in infants. Also, oil massages hold the ability to strengthen bones, promote muscle growth, and impart warmth during winters. Also, it is an ideal post-bath routine for babies as it helps combat dry and flaky skin.
While it is common to use natural oils for the purpose of baby massage, you can also massage certain pressure points gently without oil to soothe a crying child. As per Mayo Clinic, massaging a crying baby, both with and without oil, helps relieve pent-up stress and has a positive effect on infant hormones. The ancient practice of Reflexology involves the gentle stimulation of certain pressure points to induce a sense of calm and reduce muscle discomfort in babies. This method can be employed both with or without oil, as per one’s convenience. For instance, when your baby starts crying in a public place and you do not have access to oil, you can apply gentle pressure on your baby’s toes, back, and limbs with your fingers to soothe their discomfort. However, such pressure points should always be first identified under the guidance of an expert.
How To Massage
To go about the massage process, find a warm, quiet place — be it indoors or outdoors — and place your baby on their back so that you can maintain eye contact. Make sure to place them on a level surface, on a warm blanket or towel. Coo gently while undressing him/her and use a gentle touch to stroke and knead your baby’s shoulders, limbs, and stomach. Repeat similar motions on your baby’s back and thighs. Gently massage your baby’s toes and feet with your thumb in circular motions - this reflexology technique promotes circulation and helps relieve headaches, chest congestion, colic pain and pain from teething. It is important to stay relaxed throughout the entire process, and you can console your child by singing softly or telling a story. Give your baby a final rub on their belly for a few minutes and dress them in a cozy garment.
Best Oils For Baby Massage
In case you choose to use oil for massaging your baby, stick to natural, organically-produced oils such as coconut oil, sesame oil, and sunflower oil. While coconut oil soothes teething pain and works best as a natural moisturizer, sesame and sunflower oils help strengthen bones and impart softness of skin respectively. You can also use a certified organic baby massage oil that is made with natural ingredients and is free from parabens, synthetic fragrances, and toxic chemicals. Avoid massaging your baby with petroleum-based and mineral oils, as they can be detrimental to their sensitive skin and cause irritation.
If your child continues to cry post-massage for a long time and does not calm down, it is best to consult a pediatrician at the earliest. On the other hand, if massages work for your child, try incorporating them into your baby-care regimen on a regular basis. Here’s hoping that your child remains happy, cozy and healthy this winter!