Written by: Bri Taggart, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, RN, and Certified Educator of Infant Massage
It’s no secret that the road into parenthood can be rocky, but I have a secret weapon to smooth out your journey.
Hey there! I’m Bri. I love teaching about all things boobs, babies, and breastfeeding. I’ve noticed that while the benefits of skin-to-skin contact are wide and deep, baby massage is very underutilized. What most families don’t know is that there’s an easy way to pack a punch of amazing health perks into your daily skin-to-skin time with your baby.
SO...WHY BABY MASSAGE?
Believe it or not, your baby communicates mainly through touch. Think about this. Your baby spends nine months inside your belly. After birth, you’re still your baby's home. Her habitat. You are her happy place. She wants to be near you. To smell you. To hear from you and to see you.
The time after giving birth is what I like to call the “4th trimester”. The 4th trimester can be a bit unexpecting, to say the least. You’re recovering from birth and adjusting to your new role while also caring for and nourishing your baby. It can be easy to get so caught up in feedings and diaper changes that we forget to stop and connect with this new tiny human.
Here’s the thing. The goal of baby massage is to bond you and your baby. While I’m trained and certified in baby massage, I don’t massage your baby. YOU do! You get to be the hero, and your baby is going to love you for it.
Bonus Perk: During massage time, both you and your baby release oxytocin. This is the love hormone that is oh, so good for relaxation.
WHEN CAN I START? WHAT'S THE BEST AGE?
Basic baby massage strokes are perfect to start anytime from birth through the first year of life (especially before your baby can crawl away!) That being said, massage strokes can be modified for toddlers, elementary-aged kids, and even adults too! (Check out my magic belly rub that naturally works out any gas and constipation at any age! Click here to have it sent straight to your inbox).
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BABY MASSAGE?
With just your hands and a bit of oil, you can see some amazing benefits in your family. Let me give you some examples:
- Interaction: bonding, love, secure attachment, imitation.
- Relaxation: calms the fussy, better sleep, teaches self-regulation, releases oxytocin.
- Stimulation: better circulation, tones GI tract, boosts muscle development.
- Relief: less gas, less constipation, less growing pains, less teething pain.
Notice any that you could use in your family's life? I’m betting yes!
Most importantly, YOU will be a more confident parent as you help your baby achieve these benefits.
HOW DO I LEARN?
So you want to massage your baby but don’t know where to start. You’re not alone! As an intro, let me teach you some massage basics-
- Set Up Your Space: Imagine you went in for a massage, and the lights were bright, and the room was cold. Not very relaxing, right? Think along those same lines when it comes to massaging your baby. Dim the lights, choose the warm room in your home and lay down some comfy blankets.
- Prepare YOU: Believe it or not, your baby can pick up on the tension you may be holding. Before you start, you have to relax YOU first. Take some deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Remove any scratchy jewelry. Set up a comfy spot for you to sit with your back supported.
- Oil: Have a high-quality massage oil close by. I love Motherlove's Birth & Baby Oil because it smells so calming).
- Ask Permission: The last thing is to get a “yes” from your baby. I know your little one probably can’t speak quite yet, so what we’re looking for is bright eyes, making eye contact, cooing, or smooth movements of the arms and legs. If your baby is crying, upset, or hungry, then that is a “no.” Try massage another time.
Alright, you’re ready! Let’s get massaging. Trust me. Your little one is going to be in heaven.
Not sure what body area to massage first? I’d suggest the legs and feet. It’s the least invasive and so relaxing. From there, you can move on to the stomach, chest, arms, and hands, face and back.
Ready to do this? I’d love to show you how to use these simple yet effective strokes in your family! The health perks are too great to pass up. My Infant Massage with Bri online course has all the deets, and you get to learn from your home, in your jammies!
You better believe that I have an exclusive discount code, just for my Motherlove friends (use code MOTHERLOVE for a 40% discount)
If you’re not ready to dive deep quite yet, no worries! Start slow without my 5-day challenges @breezy__babies Insta. One is great for teething pain, and the other for gas pain. Let’s do this!
About the Author
Bri is first and foremost a mama like you. She lives in Utah with her husband and three kiddos while balancing being a business owner of the company Breezy Babies. Her kids love it when she massages their feet and backs. (They ask for it nightly!) She believes in empowering families with natural techniques while teaching about all things boobs, babies, and breastfeeding. She can be found teaching on these topics on her Insta @breezy__babies, on her website breezybabies.com and also on her Breezy Babies Podcast.