Baby massage - back of the body

Baby massage routine: Back 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?"

Back of Body routine:

Begin with leg & feet routine. Then move baby onto their front.

Using both hands stroke gently across the back of your baby's shoulders, down and then back up the arms, down the back, legs and feet. Reverse the stroke moving up the body. Repeat several times.

Using the pads of two fingers of both hands, massage circles either side of the spine. Starting at the neck and moving down as you go. Avoid applying pressure to the spine itself. Repeat several times.

Using alternate hands stroke from the top of the shoulders across the back to the opposite hip. Repeat several times.

With one hand followed by the other, run your index and middle fingers down either side of baby's spine. Repeat several times.

Start with both hands together at the top of the back, at right angles to the spine. Stroke your hands back and forth, perpendicular to the spine, alternating hands in a fluid movement. Move down to the buttocks, then back up to the shoulders, then down again. Repeat several times.

By massaging your baby's back you can help the spine become strong and flexible. It also encourages deeper breathing and relaxes your baby's abdomen which will help stretch the front of the body.

Now move on to the buttocks:

Using the pads of two fingers of both hands draw little circles all over from the centre of the buttocks outwards towards your baby's hips, repeat several times.

Massaging your baby's buttocks will help develop good posture by developing suppleness and flexibility in the lower back and hips.

Using both hands stroke gently across the back of your baby's shoulders, down and then back up the arms, down the back, then legs & feet. Reverse the stroke moving up the body, repeat several times.

Turn your baby onto their back:

Lightly stroke across the top of your baby's chest & shoulders, down and then up the arms, down the trunk, legs and feet. Reverse the stroke, moving up the body. Repeat several times.

Move baby into a sitting position:

This stroke must be performed in a seated position to avoid applying too much pressure to the delicate spine.

Gently massage the base of your baby's spine with the heel of your hand, repeat several times.

Then trace a figure of 8 across the whole of your baby's back, repeat several times.

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

Week 3 - Back of Body