At Matchstick Monkey, we love to explore ways that can help to keep your baby as happy as can be! We have worked with our own team of experts to come up with our Matchstick Monkey teethers and products that are specifically designed to help keep babies cheerful and content particularly when they are teething. On top of this, we are always keen to reach out to a community of baby experts to discuss techniques and other products that could help parents and babies in their day-to-day lives.
This time, we have been speaking with Emily, who is the founder of Baby Glo London and a certified baby massage instructor. Baby Glo London is a baby yoga and baby massage company that is based in London. As baby massage is growing in popularity as many parents continue to add it to their baby’s bedtime routine, we thought it’d be great to hear what advice Emily from Baby Glo London could offer our Matchstick Monkey community!
If you’re interested in finding out more about baby massage techniques, Emily has provided her top tips for baby massage below!
Baby Glo London’s top tips for Baby Massage:
I am Emily, founder of Baby Glo London and a certified baby massage instructor. I strongly believe that baby massage can help parents give their baby the best start in life to promote health and happiness.
We can see that the immediate benefits of regular baby massage include improvement in sleep (duration & quality), improved circulation, healthier muscle tone and a feeling of deep relaxation. It can also help in alleviating the symptoms of colic, other digestive conditions and teething. Baby massage provides a wonderful sense of calmness for not only your baby, but you as well, through the reduction of stress causing hormones. But most importantly it is through touch, that we can start to communicate with our baby from the moment they are born, helping to strengthen, or even form, the bond with your baby.
I truly believe that any parent can give their baby a beneficial massage when given the correct information. Below are my top tips for a successful baby massage:
1. Happy Baby
The only rule that I have in my baby class is: only massage your baby when they are happy and willing to be massaged. So if at any point, before or during the massage, your baby is unhappy then you must stop.
Remember, baby massage is not just about the massage strokes, it’s about building a trusting relationship with your baby and to do this we must listen to our baby’s cues. So if they are crying, they are communicating to us that one of their needs (e.g. hunger) is not being met. Therefore, we must see to that need (e.g. by feeding them) before resuming the massage.
2. Comfortable Setting
Get the room nice and warm so that your baby is not cold when you give them their massage. Make sure the lighting isn’t too bright and there are no smells or sounds that might upset your baby.
3. Right Time for Baby Massage
We want to massage our baby when they are awake and happy so picking the right time to massage can often be tricky, especially when the awake window is small! Play around with the time your baby most enjoys their massage.
Often parents want to force it into a bedtime routine, which although can set up your baby for a deep sleep, if your baby is too tired it can be counterproductive for everyone!
4. Right Pressure for Baby Massage
My clients often ask me what is the right pressure to do the strokes. You want to make sure you apply enough pressure in order to stimulate and activate the different bodily systems - we don’t just want to tickle our baby. However we must be careful not to apply too much pressure so that it is uncomfortable for your baby. Attending a baby massage course with a certified instructor will help understand how to achieve the correct pressure with your strokes.
5. Right Oil for Baby Massage
Choosing the right oil for your baby is very important as their skin is so delicate and I wouldn’t recommend using anything on babies younger than 1 month. As your baby gets older, it is beneficial to use an oil that you love and is safe for your baby. The Matchstick Monkey Mother & Baby Massage Oil is perfect for baby massage. It is really natural with no nasty additives and has a very gentle aroma. It is easily absorbed into your baby’s skin which is key as we don’t want to end up with a slippy baby!
6. Introduce Baby Massage slowly
Baby massage can be quite overwhelming for your baby, especially at the beginning. To help introduce your baby to massage you can:
Start with the legs: I would advise starting with the legs as these are one of the least sensitive areas of the body, yet hold quite a bit of tension.
Start with short massages: Your baby might need time to build up to a full body massage so start with short 5 minute sessions. It can be tiring and very stimulating for your baby so don't feel frustrated or disheartened if they start crying after only a few minutes. This is very normal and the more you practice, the more your baby will enjoy the massage.
7. Use all of your senses
Baby massage is very different to an adult massage: so best wipe away that idea of your baby silently lying on a mat with candles and incense!! Baby massage should be fun and interactive where you use your voice and eye contact along with your touch to communicate. Sing silly songs and keep looking at your baby throughout the massage.
Now that you’re equipped with baby massage tips along with quick and helpful techniques from Baby Glo London’s Baby Massage expert, Emily, why don’t you put Emily’s baby massage techniques into action and give it a go to see if baby massage could benefit your little one!
Related blog: The Benefits of Baby Massage for Parents & Babies