A parent's guide to baby massages

Physical touch is perhaps one of the best ways to bond with your baby from an early age, especially as they learn to discover their senses. And just as we enjoy massages, babies love them too. Here’s a guide to all the benefits of baby massage and how to give a great one.

Benefits of baby massage

  1. It helps you bond
    Eye contact and skin-to-skin contact reinforce the bond between parents and their babies, so the intimacy of a baby massage will literally bring you closer. Baby massages have also been shown to help parents with postpartum depression better bond with their infants.
  2. It helps the baby’s development.
    Among the hormones released during a baby massage are those that spark neuron growth in the brain and help improve their cognitive and motor skills. It also promotes alertness in the child, making them more susceptible to learning.
  3. It helps with healthy weight gain.
    Growth hormones are also released during skin-to-skin contact, increasing the baby’s bone density, and helping them gain weight. This is especially apparent in premature babies. 
  4. It helps reduce stress (and increase sleep)
    When a baby is touched, endorphins are released that make them feel safe and secure. This, in turn, reduces stress and helps them sleep better. In premature babies, the stress reduction through physical touch was lifesaving, allowing the baby’s nervous system to mature better.
  5. It helps reduce colic.
    When a baby constantly cries for no apparent reason until they’re about 4 months old, it’s called colic. Baby massages have successfully calmed colicky babies.
  6. It helps with gas and constipation.
    Babies are still developing even after birth, and some of their issues are their inability to properly burp on their own and constipation. During infant massages, a tummy rub can promote good digestion and release those gases.

How to give your baby a massage

  1. Choose a good time, whether after a diaper change or right before bed, but don’t do it too soon after a feeding.
  2. Set the mood. Make sure there aren’t a lot of external stimuli and that the room is warm and cosy.
  3. Keep your touch gentle. Don’t rub or tickle their skin but keep things soft.
  4. Use a good baby oil like NIVEA Baby Delicate Caring Oil to keep their skin hydrated while you massage them.
  5. Focus on areas like the feet, arms, shins, and thighs. For the stomach, massage clockwise to follow the digestive system. Go all the way up to your baby’s chest and back but avoid the neck and head. These are the most sensitive areas that are still developing.
  6. Use that time to talk to your baby or sing a lullaby together gently.
  7. You’ll know it’s time to stop when your baby starts to get fussy.


Take this time to take care of your baby and yourself, beautiful mama!