Petrina Fava


Petrina Fava

petrina@petrinafava.com

1-416-268-6333

Baby Massage FAQ



What type of oil should I use?

What are engagement cues?

When is the best time to massage my baby?

Can I massage my baby while he is sleeping?

How much pressure should I use?

Can I massage my baby when she is ill?

My baby is premature, can I massage her?

My baby has a special healthcare needs. Can I still use massage?

Up to what age can I use massage?


What type of oil should I use?

It’s a good idea to use an organic, cold-pressed vegetable or fruit based oil for massing your baby. It is important that the oil you choose is edible since fingers, fists and toes inevitably end up in your baby’s mouth! Some good oils to use are: grapeseed oil, olive oil, coconut oil, apricot oil and jojoba oil.

The use of petroleum based products (such as Vaseline or baby oil) and lotions is generally discouraged since they are not easily absorbed into the skin, are not edible and are not organic in nature. Oil is more warming than lotion and is not artificially scented.

In general, essential oils such as tea tree or lavender should not be used. They can be harmful if used incorrectly. Besides, a baby’s sense of smell is important in recognizing his caregiver and is an important part of the bonding which takes place during massage!

Some babies have reactions to nut or wheat based products. Always perform a patch test with the oil to ensure there is no allergic reaction or sensitivity. Rub a tiny amount of oil in to your baby’s skin. Wait at least thirty minutes and as long as there are no red spots, blotches, discoloration or other signs of a reaction, proceed with the massage.


What are engagement cues?

The following is a list of some engagement or “yes” cues which will tell you that your baby is interested in massage or other interaction:
Smiling
Stops moving
Cooing
Babbling
Gazing into your eyes
Bright face
Open mouth
Wide open eyes
Playful wiggling


The following is a list of disengagement or “no” cues. These behaviors tell you that your baby has had enough:
Crying/fussing
Dull eyes
Looking away, not making good eye contact
Yawning, hiccupping or sneezing
Furrowed brow
Squirming or kicking
Arching back
Turning away from you
Pressed or pouting lips


When is the best time to massage my baby?

In general, a good time for massage is when your baby is in a quiet alert state. In this state, your baby’s eyes will be wide and bright. Her body will be relaxed and her breathing will be regular and smooth. Communication and bonding are most enhanced when baby is in this state. However, any time your baby wants a massage is a good time! The most important thing to remember is that your baby will let you know if she is interested or not. By observing your baby’s cues, you will know whether or not the time is right. Sometimes a baby may enjoy a few strokes and then lose interest. Or she may like certain areas massaged and not others. Whatever the case, be observant and let your baby take the lead!


Can I massage my baby while he is sleeping?

As a rule, massaging a baby who is asleep is discouraged since there is no way for him to give you “yes” or “no” cues. Remember that infant massage is not only about strokes, but about communication, attachment and bonding. Don’t be surprised if your baby falls asleep during massage! Just finish off that area of the body, do some soothing strokes and kiss your baby goodnight!


How much pressure should I use?

Firm but gentle pressure is good. You don’t want to use such a light touch that you are tickling your baby, and firm gentle pressure stimulates circulation.With practice and by paying close attention to your baby’s cues you will get to know what your baby likes. As always, let your baby tell you.


Can I massage my baby when she is ill?

Do not massage your baby if she has a fever, diarrhea, skin rash or lesions or if she has had an immunization within the last 48-72 hours. Wait until these symptoms have subsided before resuming your massage routine.However you may use nurturing, loving touch to soothe your baby and communicate love! Place your still hands gently on your baby and look into his eyes. Touch alone, communicated in a loving manner, is often enough to calm a distressed baby!


My baby is premature, can I massage her?

Massage can be provided for a premature baby when he weighs 1000 grams (2.2 lbs) A written release from your healthcare provider is required before you can be instructed to massage your premature baby. Preemies may have special healthcare needs and are not always able to exhibit cues the same way that a full term infant does. Therefore, it is more difficult to determine when your premature baby is stressed or over stimulated. Pay very close attention to your baby’s cues. If you are not sure massage is right for your little one, you can always provide nurturing touch to communicate your love and calm your baby.


My baby has special healthcare needs. Can I still use massage?

You may or may not be able to massage your baby with special healthcare needs depending on the condition. In this case, it is very important that you ask your doctor or healthcare provider before beginning a massage routine with your baby. Some medical conditions may actually be worsened with the increased circulation and stimulation of the lymphatic system that occurs during massage. However, if you have a medical release, children with special healthcare needs can benefit significantly from massage. Once again, you may always use nurturing touch to calm and soothe your baby.


Up to what age can I use massage?

Massage is easiest until your baby is crawling. However, older children still enjoy being massaged and continue to receive the same wonderful benefits. In fact, growing children may experience relief from teething, growing pains, and stress. Strokes can be adapted and massage time can be limited for the shorter attention span of a toddler. Stories or songs can be introduced to engage an older child. Massage can help teens balance hormones and ease menstrual cramps or other physical discomforts. It can also promote self esteem and respect while keeping the lines of communication open and help continue a nurturing relationship. After all, people of all ages enjoy massage!