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5 Ways Baby Massage can Help your Baby

9 March 2023

Baby Massage is not just a great way for parents and infants to bond, it can also help babies' mental and physical health. It makes babies feel nurtured and loved. They revel in your attention and will look forward to this dedicated time with you. There are scientifically proven health benefits.


Massage improves Baby’s muscle tone and range. Moving the limbs prevents muscle atrophy while Baby practises motor skills. Circular motions with the arms and legs improve blood flow which helps build strength. Strengthening upper back muscles helps with being able to sit up independently while thigh and leg muscles can be helped to develop for walking. Gently rock them backwards and forwards in the sitting or standing positions. This helps their balance too. Don’t hold them for too long. Watch for signs they are ready to sit or lie down again. When they are lying on their back you can push their feet in a cycling motion. Baby will push back, strengthening their muscles.

Digestion and immunity

Massage can help Baby with digestion by helping move food along the intestine and through the colon. It can ease colic and trapped wind. Clockwise strokes help alleviate constipation whereas anticlockwise helps with diarrhoea. Massage improves the white blood cell count so it increases immunity. The warmth of your hand soothes and calms, comforting the little one. Gently rocking their feet to their nose helps expel trapped wind.

Mood and Sleep

Massage elicits a relaxation response so it is soothing for babies and can help them calm down if they are crying and settle them for sleep. Massage releases endorphins that make them smiley and happy. The stress hormone cortisol is reduced and the fight or flight response calmed down. The relaxation system is stimulated and stressed-out babies can begin to put on weight and thrive. It can be incorporated with bath and bedtime routines to let Baby know it's time to sleep. Sleep is so important to allow them to grow and be in a good mood during the day. 

Brain Development

Movement helps brain awareness of the body. Baby becomes more aware of where they are in space. Massage improves sensory connections. A calm baby is able to put energy into brain development. Eye contact during massage helps Baby stay present in the moment. Loving touch helps calm their emotions and make them feel safe in the world, laying down connections so they can self soothe.

Mental Health

Massage helps Baby feel wanted and loved, calming the fight or flight response. It helps with bonding. This can be especially useful for Dads helping them to tune in with Baby through touch and eye contact. It gives them skin-to-skin time when the mother is breastfeeding. It can relieve the parent's stress as they are in the moment with the baby and have something to rely on that will soothe the baby and help it sleep. A calm parent means a calm baby.

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch

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