The benefits of baby massage have been extensively researched and we at the Practica Programme encourage our Practica Parents to make use of baby massage techniques as often as possible.
Below is an extract from the Practica Programme Parents’ Guide that summarises the easy steps involved in Introductory Massage. It is recommended for newborn babies and parents who are trying out baby massage techniques for the first time.
The extract is from the section that focuses on developing sensory perception for newborn babies in the Practica Programme Parents’ Guide.
As your baby gets older, different techniques and movements are added to the mix. These added techniques are described in detail in the Practica Programme Parents’ Guide under the various age groups.
The Introductory Massage: (Activity No 18. The First Few Weeks. Page 10)
• Lie your baby down on his side, facing you, while lying beside him.
• You can either undress him and massage him with oil, or leave his clothes on if the weather doesn’t permit you to do so.
• Use organic oil e.g. coconut, almond or grape seed oil. At this stage, use only base oil. Aromatic oils can be introduced from 2 months onwards.
• Where possible, try to make eye contact with him and talk or sing to him. Annexure 1 in Chapter 10 offers a range of songs to choose from. Select a particular song which you can repeat whenever you massage him. This helps him to associate the specific song with touch and massage.
• While he is lying on his side, stroke his arm in a downward motion from his shoulder to his hand.
• Stroke along the side of his body repeatedly, from under his arm all the way down to his foot. Keep the motions as fluent, calm, rhythmic, slow and firm as you possibly can.
• While still on his side, rub his upper back in continuous, clockwise circles. Repeat the movement on his lower back.
• Repeat all the above steps while the two of you are lying on the opposite side of your bodies.
• If he is happy to lie on his back, sit stride-legged at his feet with his body between your legs and repeatedly stroke with both hands from his shoulders towards his feet, and
• Finally, roll him onto his tummy on the bed or lie with his body face down on your chest. Stroke repeatedly from the base of his neck towards his bottom.
Written by Lizette van Huyssteen
“When we know better… we do better.”