What Creams and Oils to Use for Your Baby's Daily Massage
Why is Massaging Important
Massaging a baby is essential as it gives one-on-one time for mother and the newborn baby. Massaging is one of the ways by which a mother conveys her love for her child. In fact, touching a baby has many positive benefits for him – it triggers hormones, boosts the immune system and helps to fight diseases. Above all, a massage can calm a baby, help him to relax, cry less and sleep better.
How to Massage
Select a room which is a warm and comfortable place and free from draughts. Lay your baby on a soft blanket, warm a little oil or a gentle baby lotion, take a little of it in your hands and gently massage your baby’s body. Make eye contact with the baby and sing softly. If the baby is not enjoying the massage, he will fuss. Either he is not ready to take the massage or you need to make your touch gentler.
Oils for Massaging
Cold pressed and unrefined vegetable or plant oil is the ideal oil to be used for massaging a baby. They are easily absorbed into the skin and if the baby sucks on his oil-smeared thumb, it can be easily digested by the baby.
- Oils for Summer Season: During summer coconut oil, which cools the body and is also easily available, is a good choice. Sesame oil can also be used during summer.
- Oils for Winter Season: In winter mustard oil should be used as it can warm the body. In India, mustard oil is heated with a few cloves of garlic, which has antibacterial and anti-viral properties and boosts the immune system, and fenugreek, which relaxes the body. Once the oil is warm, the residue is removed and the oil is used to massage the baby. Mustard oil may also be seasoned with carom seeds to massage colicky babies to soothe them.
- Oils for Sensitive Skin: For a baby with sensitive skin or one who is suffering from skin conditions, like eczema or broken skin, avoid using vegetable oils like high-oleic sunflower oil or olive oil. These contain monounsaturated fats and have high content of oleic fatty acids which will dry and make your baby’s skin tenderer. Use vegetable oils, such as oils with polyunsaturated fats, which have high content of linoleic acid and are favorable for sensitive skin.
Benefits of Various Oils
- Coconut Oil
This oil is gaining momentum worldwide for its health benefits. It’s anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties content help treat many ailments. Coconut oil with its natural and sweet fragrance serves as an ideal moisturizer. A quick dab of this wonderful oil on the dry patches of your delicate baby will help to keep the area moisturized. It will also protect his skin from any further irritation.
To massage your baby with this oil, mix one part extra virgin coconut with one part olive oil, add a few drops of an essential oil such as lavender and massage your baby with this combination. It will help your baby’s skin especially if he has cradle cap and nappy rash.
- Almond Oil
Almond oil makes good oil for massaging due to its various health benefits. It is rich in Vitamins A, D and E, rich in fatty acids linoleic acid, ursolic acid and oleic acid and minerals like calcium, zinc, potassium and magnesium. Almond oil moisturizes your baby’s skin, is a natural emollient which softens and nourishes the skin, reduces skin inflammation and helps to heal skin cells and relieves itching of the skin if your baby is suffering from any skin condition.
- Olive Oil
Olive oil can be safely used for massaging babies. It contains oleic acid which makes the skin more permeable and helps in absorption of water and oil into the baby’s skin. This makes the baby’s skin soft and supple. For the same reason, olive oil is not recommended for babies suffering with eczema as it increases the moisture content. Massaging a baby with olive oil helps to promote skin health and deal with many skin conditions one of them being diaper rash.
Some Massaging Tips
- Don’t put oil into your baby’s nose, ears or navel which may lead to infections.
- Massage your baby with gentle upward strokes and avoid applying pressure to the baby’s head.
- Don’t massage areas where your baby has been vaccinated.
- Make sure you wash your baby properly and clean away all the oil during his bath. Residual oil may lead to skin rashes during hot weather.
Mothers are becoming more conscious about taking care of their baby’s delicate skin the organic way.
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