How to massage my baby

Try these baby massage techniques to soothe your little one

In Newborn

    5-minutes read

    At a glance

    A great way to strengthen the bond with your baby      

    Massage releases oxytocin which can help relax and settle your baby


    It also helps ease pain and improve circulation and digestion

    Ask your health visitor about local massage classes

    Baby massage not only helps you to bond with your baby, it can also soothe and help them get a good night’s sleep. Attending a baby massage group will boost your confidence and is a great place to meet other mums – look online, or ask your health visitor if there’s one available in your area.

    Baby massage benefits

    • Baby massage is a lovely way of affirming your bond with your baby. It can help you or your partner have a positive interaction with baby
    • It can help you become more confident in handling your baby and better at recognising their needs
    • Regular massage helps your baby's muscles relax, and breathing becomes deeper as massage raises levels of the 'feel-good' hormone oxytocin in both you and your baby. This helps you both feel calmer and relaxed and may help them to sleep and settle better too
    • Massage has many added benefits for your baby, including improving healthy weight gain, aiding digestion, increasing circulation, easing teething pain and baby massage for wind is also helpful
    • It can also be useful for babies with special needs, such as Down's syndrome or cerebral palsy, as it provides a unique way of communicating and soothing them 

    How to massage my baby

    Here are some tips to help you massage your baby safely: Before you begin your massage, gather together the things you’ll need. Find a massage oil suitable for babies. Avoid using essential oils, petroleum-based oils, olive oil or scented oils. And if your baby has a nut allergy, don’t use oils that contain nuts.

    Then make it comfortable for your little one. You’ll need something soft for your baby to lie on like a changing mat covered with a towel. Make sure the room is warm – approximately 24°C and choose a time when your baby is relaxed, such as after an evening bath, not when they are feeling tired, hungry or upset.

    1. Remove any rings or bracelets and make sure you have warm hands

    2. Undress your baby and lay them on their back, on something soft

    3. Get yourself into a comfortable position, and pour a generous amount of oil into your hands. Rub your hands together to warm the oil

    4. Start by gently rubbing and stretching your baby’s feet and toes

    5. Work your way up your baby’s legs, gently rubbing and squeezing the muscles – remember to always support the ankle or wrist with one hand

    6. Do the same for the arms and hands, and finish by stroking your baby’s chest and massaging their tummy with a clockwise circular motion. Remember to always support the ankle or wrist with one hand

    7. Talk to your baby and maintain eye contact as you massage. Don’t rub or squeeze too hard, and don’t persist if your baby doesn’t seem to be enjoying it – not all babies do. If your child becomes upset or falls asleep, stop massaging


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    Important advice to mothers

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. SMA® Nutrition fully supports this and continued breastfeeding, along with the introduction of complementary foods as advised by your healthcare professional.