Infant massage is an easy, natural way to give your baby the soothing stimulation of your touch.
Choose a time of day when baby isn't usually fussy. Go to a quiet, warm room and place a soft blanket or towel on the floor. Make sure your hands are warm, and rub a baby-safe oil or cream on them.
Massage each area as outlined with slow, gentle, rhythmic strokes for a minute or two. Follow your baby's cue, and skip areas that baby doesn't seem to enjoy. After all, infant massage is supposed to be fun and relax both of you!
1) Begin with baby's feet. Using your thumb and index finger, stroke from toe to heel along the sole of the foot and toe to ankle on the top of the foot.
2) Now, hold baby's leg gently at the ankle with one hand and using a slow, gentle circular motion, stroke from baby's ankle to hip with alternating hands.
3) Move to baby's hands. Open baby's hand with your thumb and gently stroke the palm and top of the hand. Gently roll each of baby's fingers between your index finger and thumb.
4) Hold baby's wrist with one hand and stroke from the wrist to the shoulder. Then, massage around each shoulder with gentle, small, circular motions.
5) Using a circular motion and light touch, stroke baby's tummy in a clockwise direction below the rib cage. Avoid baby's naval if the cord is still attached.
6) Then, place both hands on the center of baby's chest. Gently stroke out to the sides, bring your hands down and then back up to the center of the baby's chest.
7) Cradle baby's head with you hands. Using both thumbs, gently stroke baby's head in a circular motion, moving around crown and ears. Avoid baby's soft spots.
8) Place baby on tummy. Start with both hands together on baby's back. Slowly stroke baby from the shoulders to the buttocks and back to the shoulders.
Kathleen Alfano Ph.D., Former Director of Child Research at Fisher-Price®
Parenting advice is given as a suggestion only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider.