Baby massage - head & face

Baby massage routine: Head & Face

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?"

Head & Face routine:

Begin with leg & feet routine. 

Start with your baby's head:

Gently hold your baby's face between your hands, while talking in a calm, quiet voice.

Using pads of the finger tips of both hands, stroke down both sides of the face. Repeat several times.

Roll your hands sideways and slip them under your baby's head. Support the weight of your baby's head on the heels of your hands. Massage the scalp with your fingers moving in small circles. Repeat several times.

Use your thumbs to stroke baby's ears. Press the ears gently with your thumbs and forefingers, working from the top of the ear down to the earlobe. Repeat several times.

Next move to your baby's face:

Stroke across your baby's forehead using the pads of your thumbs, moving from the centre to the sides. Repeat several times.

With the pads of your two forefingers, stroke the nose and around the mouth, then stroke the cheeks and along the jawbone. Repeat several times.

Stroke out along the eyebrows and gently under the eyes.

Gently stroke across your baby's forehead, moving down to the cheeks and jawbone. Repeat several times.

Front of the body:

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. 

Baby Stretches:

Arm stretch:

Whilst holding your baby's arms at the wrists, gently stretch out to the sides and then across the chest one way and then the other way. Repeat several times.

Take your baby's arms up above their head and stretch them gently and then bring them back down to their sides. Repeat several times.

Arm & Leg stretch:

Hold one arm at the wrist and the opposite leg at the ankle. Bring them both in towards the centre of the body and then stretch back out. Repeat several times.

Then repeat on the other side.

Leg Stretches:

Holding your baby's legs at the ankles, bring the ankles towards the abdomen. Gently push legs towards the abdomen. Repeat several times.

Pull the knees together up towards the abdomen and gently shake the legs while stretching them out straight. Repeat several times.

Pull the knees together up into the abdomen and rotate round each way to help gently massage your baby's lower back. Repeat several times.

This exercise is helpful for constipation, trapped wind and colic.

Hold your baby's feet, bend and gently stretch each leg alternately in bicycle movements. Repeat several times.