Skin to Skin Massage has so many benefits for both you and your baby. Using oil ensures that your hands will glide over baby’s body without dragging the skin and will enhance the lovely sensations massage brings. We do however have to be certain that the oil we’re using is safe and good for baby.
Research from the Touch Institute in Miami into using oil:
Massage with oil has more positive effects on normal infants.
As compared with infants who received massage without oil, infants who received massage with oil were less active, showed fewer stress behaviors and head averting, and their saliva cortisol levels decreased more. Also, vagal activity increased following massage with oil versus massage without oil.
Field, T., Schanberg, S., Davalos, M., & Malphurs, J. (1996). Pre and Perinatal Psychology Journal, 11, 75-80.
When can I start to massage my baby with oil?
Under four weeks it is recommended that gentle massage strokes are given over clothes.
From four weeks onwards oil can be used. Plain unscented oil is recommended until baby is at least 8 weeks old so that your scent is not masked.
What type of oil is recommended?
Natural, edible and food-grade fruit or vegetable oil. Organic and cold-pressed is ideal but not imperative. Babies will end up digesting some of the oil by putting their hands in their mouths so as good quality oil as possible is optimal.
Which oils are considered safe to use?
♡ Sunflower oil
♡ Grapeseed oil
♡ Fractionated coconut
♡ Do you, your baby or anyone in your family have a history of allergies?
♡ Does your baby have dry skin or eczema?
Before massaging your baby, take a little of our chosen oil onto your finger and then rub a little onto your babies ankle or wrist and wait around 15 minutes to check that they haven’t reacted to it. Signs of a reaction will be redness or bumps.
A popular gift for a new baby is Massage oil which can be lovely but caution must be taken as they can contain undesirable ingredients. Do check labels and avoid using if you’re uncertain.
There are beautiful, organic and ethically sourced Baby Massage Oils that are scented. These oils are often approved to use ‘from birth’ but as stated above, under 4 weeks I would recommend to massage over clothes and up until 8 weeks I would suggest using a plain oil so as not to interfere with the bonding process by masking your scent. After 8 weeks could be a good time to consider using an oil with scent if you were confident the product was safe and high quality. Please do get in touch if you’d like to check a product with me.
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.
Here’s a short video about using massage oil:
I really hope this helps. Please let me know if you have had any success. Good luck!
Love Lucy ♡