Your baby's First Massage

From "The New Book of Baby & Child Massage" by Robert Toporek

For a newborn baby, your massage should take no more than 5-10 minutes. A great way for child to begin life is with a massage right after birth. What better way for parents to bond with their baby than to have the experience of loving contact immediately?

Here's how to proceed. Take a bottle of mineral oil into the delivery area. Then, after all that needs to be done for your baby from an obstetric point of view is completed, find a warm and somewhat quiet area, and sit down in a comfortable chair. Put your baby on your lap, unwrap him and then put some oil on your hands, rub your hands together to warm them and the oil.

Next, gently put one hand on your baby's abdomen just above the belly button and just let it sit there for a moment, allowing yourself to become one with your baby's rhythm.

Gently begin to move your hand up the abdomen toward the heart area, then to the shoulder. Do the same thing on the left side with your left hand. Repeat this process but this time reach around towards the shoulder and down the arm. You will be very gently stimulating blood flow into all parts of their upper body.

With more oil on your hands, put them on one of the legs, palms down. Allow yourself to feel your baby's muscles. Then gently begin stroking down the leg, first on the thigh, then the knees, then the lower leg. Next cup the ankle and foot in your hands and then let go. Repeat the same procedure on the other leg. All the while you should be talking to your baby, reassuring him and welcoming him to the world.

Next, put a little oil on your fingertips and very gently, with your thumbs, massage the face by gently stroking and ever so lightly stretching. To finish, put one hand on your baby's abdomen and the other under his bottom and ease him down gently.

Give him a huge hug and kiss and congratulate him out loud for finishing his first massage. He'll start to associate the sound of your voice with what was just a loving experience.

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