Getting Started

At the start a little planning ahead will help. Let’s take a quick look at what you will need and where you could massage your baby. The great thing about baby massage is that you can literally do it anywhere – as long as your baby is willing! You’ll be getting to know your baby very quickly from when they are tired to when they are happy, and everything in between.

  • a happy content baby – check out the different ‘Infant States’ below the video to understand more about when is best to massage your baby.
  • your loving hands and time – set aside your phone and any distractions.
  • a towel or blanket to place your baby on and to wrap them up during the massage should they need a cuddle or a feed. You may wish to place a waterproof change mat underneath.
  • spare nappy, cloth nappy or hand towel to wipe up or catch any unexpected wees. Though depending on what part of their body you are massaging you may opt to leave their nappy on.
  • natural massage oil for babies over one month – see below for more information.
  • you may like to play music to help set the scene and help relax you both.
  • clean nappy and clothes at hand for when you have finished.

If your baby is younger than one month old then a small amount of water is all you need. Whenever I refer to oil in the videos replace it with a teaspoon of warm water. You will find your hands may not glide as well as with oil, so just lighten your pressure.

Once your baby is older than one month it is best to use a scent-free plant-based oil such as sunflower or coconut. You don’t need too much so while some oils seem expensive they can last a long time.

Scent-free is highly recommended as your baby relies on the smell of you for bonding, feeding and sensory communication.

Read more about what oil to use and why by clicking the ‘Massage Oil’ link below the video.

This is a photo of me massaging my first son in 2000. We had gone on holiday and were locked out of the house. So while waiting for the keys to arrive I stripped him off and gave him a lovely massage. I had all I needed. (I loved this photo so much I had it blown up and framed!)

As I mentioned already you can massage your baby just about anywhere, the floor is the best place as you can have everything at hand and once your baby gets moving it’s the safest place. Wherever you decide keep these things in mind:

  • your comfort – make sure you can be relaxed, sitting or standing comfortably. If you are not comfortable and relaxed your baby will sense this.
  • temperature – the room should be warm as your baby’s body temperature drops once you undress them.
  • lighting – ensure there is no bright overhead light that could increase the glare for your baby and make it harder for them to see your face.
  • safety – should something happen and you get distracted, is your baby in a safe place?

Many years ago I was an expert witness in a chid abuse case. The baby had suffered fractures of several limbs. The parents claimed they were only ‘massaging’ their baby. I had to provide information on the amount of force that should be used when massaging a baby and descriptions of acceptable techniques. Massaging and doing any movement with your baby, as you will be learning here, should DO NO HARM.

You need gentle, warm and loving hands with only a little amount of oil, to stimulate the receptors below the skin and help their nervous system develop (refer to the bonus material on Touch in the Welcome module).

  • Watch the video below (2:15 min)
  • Download the checklist if you need it
  • Check out the ‘Infant States’ below and share with your partner
  • Read further information on ‘Massage Oils’ below, especially if you have a family history of allergies.