Legs & Feet Massage

The feet and legs are a great place to start your massage journey as it is one part of your baby’s body that is exposed and handled multiple times throughout the day and night. And it may be that you incorporate some massage each time you change their nappy/diaper.

Another reason for starting here is that your baby is born to walk and within 12-18 months they will be up and running around. So time spent massaging their legs and feet will help prepare them.

In fact, their foot will not be fully mature until their mid-teens. So even more reason to look after them. Here is an image of a babies foot and ankle at 3 months of age. The red lines divide the fore (front), mid and rear foot. Look at all that space! The mid foot (between the 2 red lines) takes the longest to develop and is why your baby has no arch. Their arch will not fully develop until after they have started school.

Their foot (as is yours) is full of thousands of nerve receptors making them a vital sensory organ as they grow and develop. They need a variety of sensory input before they start standing and walking to ensure they step forward in confidence. Check out way to increase Sensory Input below.

And of course, touch is one form of sensory input, so pause each time you change your baby’s nappy and provide some nutritious input!

Until your baby is standing and moving their feet don’t actually need shoes. Of course, if it’s really cold when you’re going out a pair of socks or booties will do, but if you’re not putting anything on their hands then think twice.

Their feet need to be free to sense their world and explore. Each foot has over 250,000 nerve endings and are designed to move and articulate. If you look at the x-ray above, you can’t see the nerves but you can see the bones. Where two or more bones meet they create a joint and joints are designed to create movement. Eventually your baby will have a feet like yours with 26 bones creating 33 joints in each foot. That’s a lot of movement potential!

  • foot shaped – allowing room for their toes to spread
  • flat – completely flat with no heel
  • flexible & thin – to allow for all that movement and so they can feel the ground, and
  • fit well – not too tight or not too loose, with ankle strap or heel cup so they stay on and like a second skin so they don’t even feel like they have anything on

Please think about your baby’s footwear as they grow so they maintain a good base of support and can run, jump and skip. And it’s important for their physical and emotional development.

It’s not too late for your feet either!

As you massage your baby’s feet you may also notice their toes curling and stretching. These movements are a result of primitive reflexes. If you’d like to know more about these check ‘Foot Reflexes’ below.

  • Get ready to massage your baby….happy baby, oil, quiet space, spare nappy, phone handy to take a photo and share it in the Facebook group (optional)!
  • Watch the video (10 min). You can press pause as you learn and practice the different strokes
  • Download the Leg & Foot Routine below and keep it handy – ready to use at any time!
  • Check out the extra ways you can provide sensory input and the information on foot reflexes – share these with your partner