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Infant Massage: The Power of Touch
Want to help baby feel better and sleep longer? Give your infant a massage. It only has to last a few minutes to benefit your baby with the soothing stimulation of your touch. Pick a time when baby isn't fussy and seems receptive to lying down naked on a comfy towel or blanket in a warm room. Then, to begin:
  • First, rub your hands with a baby-safe oil or cream.
  • Introduce the massage to your baby by running your fingers lightly over baby's body. If baby seems happy, continue to the next step, but if baby is fussy, try again later.
  • Your first massage move: Make an "X" on baby's chest by running a hand from baby's waist on the right side to up under the left arm. Pass through the middle of baby's chest each time.
  • Next, try making small clockwise circles on baby's stomach, around the bellybutton, which helps ease digestion.
  • To finish the chest, run your hands down the front of baby alternating left hand and then right hand.
  • Now it's time for baby's limbs. Begin by holding the top of one of baby's arms in both your hands. Massage by moving your hands in opposite directions, starting at the top of the arm and moving down to the wrist. Finish by stroking baby's palm with your thumb. Repeat with the other arm.
  • Next do the same massaging motion on one of baby's legs. Start at the thigh and rub all the way down to the ankle. Press your thumb into baby heel to finish, then repeat with the other leg.
  • Slowly rotate baby's legs in a bicycle-riding pattern, which can help ease gas pain.
  • Now you can move on to baby's face. Smooth your fingers across baby's forehead and use your thumbs to gently massage circles at baby's temples.
  • Finally, go for the big finish. Turn baby over and rub the palms of your hands back and forth across baby's back, keeping them going in opposite directions. Turn baby around again and with luck, you little one will be ready for a nap.
Kathleen Alfano Ph.D. Director of Child Research at Fisher-Price®