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Infant Massage

Topic Overview

Many caregivers use infant massage to relax and promote the emotional bond with their baby. It can help relax your baby, prevent crying, and soothe and comfort your crying baby. Many hospitals and child care centers provide classes on infant massage.

Massage methods vary, but general recommendations stress finding the appropriate setting and using appropriate techniques.

  • Find a time when you are relaxed and won't be interrupted. Be sure the baby is neither full nor hungry.
  • Find a comfortable location and position. The room should be warm. Lay the baby on his or her back on a towel on a bed, the floor, or your lap.
  • Some parents use a warm (not hot) natural oil such as vegetable or olive oil. Slowly rub a little over the baby's body. Move your palms in clockwise, rhythmic circles on the baby's abdomen. Use only light pressure.
  • Be sensitive to your baby. A newborn may enjoy only 2 to 5 minutes of massage.
  • Do not massage a sick or feverish child.

Related Information

References

Other Works Consulted

  • Lucassen P (2010). Colic in infants, search date September 2009. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence. Also available online: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Last Revised February 25, 2013

Last Revised: February 25, 2013

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