Types of Infant Massage
There are two main types of infant massage, Indian and Swedish.
In Indian infant massage, strokes are directed away from the torso to relax the flexor muscle.
In Swedish infant massage, strokes are directed away from the extremities of the torso, to bring the blood to the heart and the lungs.
Regardless of the method used, it is important that firm pressure be applied. Light, feather strokes can be aversive to the infant because they are experienced as a tickle.
The Position for you and your baby
The massager should find a comfortable position for massaging the baby. The adult’s back should be straight, most of the movement should come from the lower back.
For massaging newborns, many therapists recommend a cradle pose. The adult sits on the floor with legs stretched, back supported against furniture. The knees are bent slightly outward, with soles of the feet touching each other.
The cradle created by the legs is then padded with blankets and the infant is placed in the center. This position helps the infant feel secure and conserve warmth. In addition, if the infant’s head is placed at the arches of the feet, the baby’s head can be aligned to ensure maximum eye contact.
Choosing the right oil
When parents are preparing for infant massage, experts recommend that they lubricate the baby’s skin to prevent friction. Peanut and Almond oils have a pleasant aroma but are frequently associated with allergic reactions in infants.
Vegetable oils can break down into other components that can be harmful to a baby’s skin. Many vegetable oils are not considered pure, and should not be used on infant skin. It would therefore be a safe bet to choose a mineral oil that is pure, gentle, fast absorbing with a minimum amount of fragrance.