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Baby massage

Benefits of baby massage for your newborn

As first time parents, you’ll probably want to use every possible moment to learn more about your little one. There are lots of great ways for you to bond and newborn baby massage is a favourite for many – with lots of other benefits, too. As well as helping to relax you and your baby, a gentle massage can encourage sleep and also care for their delicate skin.

From the moment you meet your newborn baby, you’ll spend lots of time getting to know each other. All parents have their own way of building that special bond – you could try talking, singing, cuddling and even a regular massage.

There are so many benefits of baby massage. Touch is a great way to communicate with your little one before they can speak, as children’s nurse and mom of two Tracey explains, “You can become more aware of what your baby wants, because you get so much more aware of their behaviour and how they react to things.” And because it’s very soothing, it can sometimes even reduce crying, too. Baby Dove Research and Development expert and mom of two Diane also found it helped with her son’s wind: “You could feel the gas trapped in his stomach, so I used lotion to help massage the gas out of him, in a special circular and downward motion.”  

It can also do wonders for you as first time parents, helping you to relax, feel empowered and enjoy special moments with your baby. For Craig, dad of a newborn, a massage is part of the daily routine: “We do bath and baby massage at the same time each day,” he says. “It’s amazing to see his little body growing and watch his reactions to the massage change each week.” 

Because their delicate skin loses moisture faster than ours, it’s good to moisturize while you massage by using a nourishing baby lotion. It also helps your hands glide more easily over their body and could make it more relaxing for your baby. “The Baby Dove Rich Moisture Lotion is made with 100% skin-natural nutrients that are identical to those found naturally in the skin, so it will help replenish nutrients lost during bathing and lock moisture in,” says Bindu, Baby Dove Research and Development expert and mom of three.  

After bath and before bed is an ideal time for moisturizing and massaging, as your baby should be awake but settled and not too hungry, not too full – but, as Tracey says, the best time is “always when it suits the baby and the parent”. You can use baby massage for sleep, too, as Baby Dove employee and dad of three Junaid explains: “In my experience, massaging the feet, heels and toes helps a new baby to relax and go to sleep more easily.”  

If you’re wondering how to do it, there are massage classes available and, as Emma, mom of two, says: “It is fairly easy to learn – even a good book or YouTube video could teach you the basics.” There are also illustrations (below), but if you need more guidance, try asking your midwife or health visitor about baby massage techniques. 

There are also illustrations (below), but if you need more guidance, try asking your midwife or health visitor about baby massage techniques.

  • baby dove massage step1

    Step one.

    Massage is a great way to bond with your newborn baby, and this is one of many baby massage techniques. Start by lying your baby down on their back on a flat surface and warm a bit of baby lotion in your hands. Place two or three fingers on the right of your baby’s abdomen and draw them straight down in a firm but gentle movement, from under the ribs to their hipbone – that’s the ‘I’

  • baby dove massage step2

    Step two.

    Next, make an upside ‘L’ by sweeping your fingers from left to right above your baby’s belly button then straight down their abdomen. Talking or singing to your baby can help to put them at ease while you do this, and make your massage a lovely bonding moment

  • baby dovemassage step3

    Step three.

    The last letter: an upside-down ‘U’. Start with your fingers on the left side of your baby’s tummy, at their hipbone. Stroke upwards, and once you get to the top of their tummy, move your fingers across in an arc over their bully button to form the bottom of the ‘U’. To complete it, move your fingers down again. The ‘I love you’ method is just one to try, but it’s easy to pick up (so it’s especially great for first time parents)