It is common for babies to have around 7/8 colds a year which is miserable for everyone! Massaging your baby will bring comfort and relief and will help you to feel like you are doing something to ease their symptoms.
How does Baby Massage help?
♡ Massage increases circulation to wherever you’re working on, so we’re bringing oxygen and nutrient rich blood to specific areas, like the face and the chest in this instance. We’re helping to get the lymphatic system moving, stimulating it into action to speed up waste removal and supporting healing.
♡ There are specific techniques to use for affected areas. On the chest for example, we use a technique called ‘tapping’ which is good for breaking up mucus. Combined with a nursery song such as ‘Incy Wincy Spider’ whilst you’re tapping all around babies chest will help to engage baby and make it more ‘fun.’ Other techniques like ‘waterfall’ gently sliding fingers down either side of the nose helps to move any congestion.
♡ Massage encourages the release of feel good hormones and endorphins such as ‘Oxytocin’ helping your baby to feel loved, soothed and comforted.
Before you start
♡ Consider that baby may be uncomfortable lying on their back if they are very congested. You may want to adapt these moves to have them sitting up with you or provide a low pillow that raises their head up a little from the floor.
♡ Find a comfortable space on the floor, turn off the TV, your phone and feel free from any distractions.
♡ Feel confident that your baby is happy, well enough and ready to participate. Things to consider: Even though they are unwell, are they making eye contact, happy (ish) cooing noises, seem playful?
Practicing the strokes
♡ Make sure that you also feel happy and not stressed! Take a few deep breaths before you start. Shake out your arms and hands. Ask your baby if they would like a massage to soothe and relax them.
♡ Bring baby close to you so they can see you and feel safe.
♡ Use a sing-song voice with lots of encouragement and praise.
Essential oil use
If you feel you would like to and feel confident using Essential Oils, they can be very relieving for coldy symptoms and wonderfully supportive emotionally as well as physically. Essential oils must be used with caution, sparingly and never ingested.. Safe oils for babies are Lavender Lavandula angustifolia, Roman Chamomile Anthemis nobilis and Mandarin Citrus reticulata. Lavender in particular is amazing for relieving sinus congestion and encouraging and promoting sleep. Roman Chamomile for relieving pain and Mandarin for ‘fractious babies’. Oils must always be very high quality and organic if possible. Here in the UK, I recommend Neals Yard to ensure safety and quality. Electric steam diffusers are also a fantastic way to diffuse the oils into a room safely. If you would like advice on essential oil use please consult a qualified aromatherapist.
Research from the Touch Institute Miami into Lavender Oil for Babies:
Lavender bath oil reduces stress and crying and enhances sleep in very young infants.
Very young infants were given a bath with or without lavender-scented bath oil. The mothers in the lavender bath oil group were more relaxed, smiled and touched their infants more during the bath. Their infants looked at them a greater percentage of the bath time and cried less and spent more time in deep sleep after the bath. The cortisol levels of this group of mothers and infants significantly decreased, confirming the behavioral data showing increased relaxation of the mothers and their infants. These findings support a body of research showing the relaxing and sleep-inducing properties of lavender aroma*
Field, T., Cullen, C., Largie, S., Diego, M., Schanberg, S. & Kuhn, C. (2008). Early Human Development, 84, 399-401.
*I have included this research out of interest but please be aware that Lavender Essential Oil in the bath could be ingested by your baby and must be monitored with caution. If you would like to try a bath with lavender oil - One or two drops maximum of Lavender EO must be mixed into a tablespoon of milk before adding into the bath. The fat in the milk disperses the oil so that the Lavender oil doesn’t ‘sit’ on the top of the bath water.
Try this short sequence in the video and let me know how you get on ♡
I really hope this helps. Please let me know if you have had any success. Good luck!
Love Lucy ♡