Baby massage - front of the body

Baby massage routine: Front of Body

Getting started:

  • choose a time when your baby is awake and alert
  • choose a warm room with no draughts, a peaceful atmosphere and no distractions (i.e. TV)
  • ensure lighting is dimmed and not too bright
  • use a pure almond oil, light vegetable oil or olive oil as they are kinder to baby's skin and perfume free
  • use a thick towel, changing mat or rug
  • place your baby on their back, feet towards you
  • always start with the legs and feet
  • only massage when your baby is awake, alert and ready to engage

Massage should be a happy, relaxing and special time for you both. There will be times when your baby is not in the mood for massage so it's important to respect this and not force it. Always respect your baby, watch their cues and respond to their body language.

Relaxation & breathing to start:

  • neck rolls - chin to chest, roll head from side to side
  • shoulder shrugs to shrug out any tension
  • focus on breathing - deep breaths in and relax on the exhale

Helping baby feel secure:

  • only expose part of the body being massaged
  • chat to baby during massage
  • cocoon baby creating a boundary around them - with your legs, towels, pillows, changing ,mat with raised sides

Asking permission from your baby:

  • rub massage oil between your hands next to babies ear so they know this signals the start of baby massage
  • look baby in the eyes & ask them "would you like a baby massage?"

Front of Body routine:

Lightly stroke across the top of your baby's chest and shoulders, down and then up the arms, down the body, legs and feet.

Reverse the stroke moving up the body, repeat several times.

Draw little circles with the pads of the first two fingers of both hands across the top of your baby's chest, moving from the centre of the chest to the tops of the arms. Repeat several times.

Stroke both hands from the centre of the chest outwards, as if drawing butterfly wings. repeat the stroke moving slightly further down each time. Repeat several times.

Using alternate hands stroke from the top of your baby's shoulders to the opposite hips without breaking contact. Repeat several times.

Next please your hand on top of your baby's chest and rub up and down the whole of one side. Repeat for the other side.

By massaging your baby's chest you're helping to relax the chest muscles and aid your baby's breathing. You can also use this to help clear congestion. 

Now move to the abdomen:

Gently message the solar plexus using little circles in a clockwise direction under the bottom of your baby's rib cage (in the centre of the upper abdomen). Repeat several times.

Massage little circles around the naval with the pads of your fingers in a clockwise circular direction. Repeat several times.

Finish the front of the body by stroking up and down the chest and abdomen a few times.

You can massage your baby's abdomen to help ease colic pains, constipation & digestion. Your baby's anxiety can be reduced as massage increases the amount of air taken into your baby's lungs.

Next move to arms:

Hold one hand in your opposite hand. Stroke up and down the arm several times. Use a firmer pressure when going up the arm. Then circle the shoulder a few times, return down the arm using a lighter stroke. Repeat several times.

With your thumb massage in small circles over the upper arm on top followed by underneath. Gently stroke over the elbow then do small circles over the lower arm on both sides.

Gently squeeze and release the muscles of the arm working up and down the arm several times.

Draw little circles with your thumb on the back of the hand then into the palm, gently stretching the hand open as you go. Repeat several times. Massage each finger between your thumb and forefinger, squeezing gently as you release.

Finish by stroking up and down the arm several times. Repeat for the other arm and hand.

By massaging your baby's arms you can help increase flexibility, suppleness & co-ordination.

Next move onto the legs:

Hold one foot in your opposite hand. Gently stroke up & down the entire leg, using a lighter pressure when massaging downwards, gently stretching the leg as you go. Repeat several times.

Then stroke up the leg to the hip, circle the hip several times and then return down to the foot. Repeat several times.

Next, using your thumb and a firm pressure draw little circles all over the thigh (use a lighter pressure for the inner thigh).

Repeat on the lower leg, gently strong over and behind the knee.

Gently squeeze and release the leg muscles working from the top of the thigh, finishing at the ankle. Repeat several times.

Moving to the feet...

Using your thumbs draw little circles all over the top of the foot and around the ankle. Then draw little circles on the sole of the foot and around the heel.

Gently massage each toe between your thumb and forefinger. Rub the base of each toe and then squeeze the toes gently as you release them.

Finish by stroking up and down the leg several times and then repeat on the other leg/foot.

By massaging your baby's legs you can help your baby to develop the strength and co-ordination they need for sitting, standing and walking. It will also help your baby to develop flexibility in their hip and knee joints.

Finish by stroking across the top of the chest and shoulders, down and then back up the arms, and then down the trunk, legs and feet. Reverse the stroke from the feet, up the legs, across the trunk and chest and down the arms. Repeat several times. 

You can access a printable version of this routine, along with some additional strokes for the front of the body, by clicking on the link below:

Week 2 - Front of Body