Infant massage

types of newborn massage

Bringing a new life into the world is an experience filled with a myriad of emotions - joy, apprehension, love, and at times, overwhelming confusion. One of the indispensable elements for newborn growth and development is touch. Captivatingly, the art of infant massaging provides not just a powerful way to connect, but significantly, it also enhances the newborn's progress right from the early stages. In our discussion, we will explore:

- The direct and indirect impacts newborn massaging confers

- When to commence newborn massages

- Various techniques that can be utilized

- Some tips to augment bonding through massages

The Potency of Newborn Massages

In this era, we recognize the diverse spectrum of benefits newborn massages offer for both the child and parents. 

As is often repeated, a timeless bond exists between the parent and child. This connection can be profoundly strengthened through newborn massages, creating deeper attachment levels. In addition, it provides an excellent therapy for combating postpartum depression that, at times, creeps in subtly.

Babies typically possess an inherent curiosity that guides them to explore their environments. A well-delivered massage serves as a relaxation tool, calming their senses, diminishing stress-causing hormones, and consequently, enhancing their sleep. 

Engaging in massages activates multiple aspects of the baby's physiology. Amazingly, it stimulates essential facets such as brain function, muscle development, and muscle toning, fostering the baby’s overall health.

Like a well-oiled machine, massages aid in the functioning of various body processes. For instance, they significantly contribute to regulating circulation, digestion, and respiration, ensuring the constant flow of life-giving oxygen.

Effective Timing for Massages

Though newborn massages may seem an unfamiliar terrain for many, it is a simple process that requires consistency. Ideally, massages can commence right from birth as they significantly contribute to the development process.

Some of the best times to massage baby are:

  • About 45 minutes after eating
  • When baby is calm, alert, and awake
  • Right before bed
  • After a diaper change

Newborn Massage Techniques

The atmosphere for a massage is as vital as the process itself. Before beginning, ensure the room is warm to cater to the delicacy of the newborn skin. A stress-free atmosphere and an adequately soft surface set the ground for an effective massage.

There exist several strokes that can be used for massages, specializing on different body parts:

Baby Foot Massage

Beginning with the baby's legs is ideal for massage, as they tend to be less sensitive compared to other body parts. Start by gently holding one of the baby's thighs and work your way down to the ankle, alternating your hands and applying light pressure. Do the same with the other leg. Remember, a thorough leg massage includes not just the thighs but also the areas below the ankle, the feet, and the toes.

Gently hold the baby's foot, massaging down from the ankle and rotating it gently in each direction. Proceed to massage from the heel to the toes, and then repeat with the other foot. For the sole of the foot, use your thumb in circular motions to massage each foot gently. Massage the entire sole of both feet in this manner. Finally, for the toes, gently slide your thumb and index finger around each toe, softly pulling until your fingers slide off the tip. This should be done for all ten toes to complete the foot massage.

Baby Face Massage

For a gentle facial massage, place your hands together (in a prayer-like position) on your baby's forehead and then softly spread them outwards from the middle. Following this, use your thumb to trace a 'smile' on your baby's face by gliding from one cheek, over the upper lip, to the other cheek. Repeat this motion along the lower lip.

Hand Massaging

Massaging your baby's hands is an excellent way to foster a sense of security and enjoyment through touch. The process involves steps that include massaging the arms, palms, and fingers. Begin by gently holding one of your baby’s arms and carefully pulling it from the armpit down to the wrist. Next, hold their hand and gently rotate the wrist several times in both directions. Perform the same movements with the other hand. Then, massage your baby’s palm. Using your thumbs, make circular motions on the palm of each hand. Finally, in the last step of the massage, gently roll each of your baby’s fingers between your thumb and forefinger, pulling slightly so your fingers glide off the tips of the baby’s fingers. Repeat this with all the fingers.

Chest & Abdomen Massaging

Massage the baby's chest along with their abdomen for a soothing effect. Start by placing your hands on the baby's shoulders, near the heart. Gently open your hands, spreading them across the baby's chest and then gliding them downwards. Do this motion multiple times. Next, place one hand on the baby’s chest and softly draw it down from the chest to the thighs, repeating this several times. Massaging the baby’s abdomen is beneficial for aiding digestion and alleviating abdominal discomfort.

Waist & Back Massaging

For this technique, position your baby on their stomach. Then, with your fingertips, gently make small circular motions along the sides of their spine, starting from the neck and moving down to the hips. Repeat this motion several times to comfort and calm your baby.

Infant abdominal massage for constipation

For an infant abdominal massage aimed at relieving constipation, gently tap your fingers starting from the lower part of your baby's stomach and move upwards. Progressively walk your fingers from the right side of your baby's abdomen to the left side. Repeat this motion six to eight times. Gradually lighten the strokes towards the end of the massage to indicate that the session is concluding.

Supplementary Techniques 

Efficient massage relies significantly on establishing a connection. Maintaining a steady gaze, wearing a smile, and engaging in conversation or song significantly enhances the experience. 

Each baby is different and thus will react differently to a massage. It is important to be gentle and patient, while also being expressive and energetic to enjoy the process fully. Adjusting the massage parameters, such as pressure, according to the baby's age and preferences is critical for a wonderful experience.


What may initially seem as mere rubbing and stroking of the newborn skin is a world of unlimited benefits wrapped in an enjoyable bonding experience. Remember, massages can be performed anywhere and anytime, savor this special time with your little one. Stay in the moment, embrace it fully, and cherish each precious giggle and coo. After all, they grow up so fast!


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