If you lack confidence or want to meet some other mums you can do a baby massage course but to be totally honest with you, it's really not that hard to learn how to give your baby massage. The most important thing is staying in touch with your baby emotionally, your baby will tell you exactly what they like and what they don't.
You should both really enjoy baby massage. If you aren't enjoying it you and your baby just won't get the benefits! Don't feel obligated or pressured to massage your baby, or do it just cause the clock says 6pm and it's part of the prescribed bed time routine.
Some babies don't like massage at first. Maybe it is too stimulating or they don't like being undressed or unswaddled. If your baby just isn't into it leave it and try again tomorrow. In my experience most babies grow to love massage if you persevere, but don't force it.
Here are a few things to look for if you aren't feeling confident:
If baby is enjoying the massage:
Looking at the parent’s face
Making babbling or cooing sounds
Smooth movements of arms and/or legs
If baby is not enjoying the massage:
Frowning or grimacing
Turning the head away
Arching the back or squirming
Flailing movements of arms and/or legs
A few reasons baby massage can be stressful include:
- Baby may be too hungry or too full. Wait awhile after a big feed to massage your baby or they may feel uncomfortable, likewise don't wait till your baby is starving.
- Baby may be too tired. Often we do baby massage at bedtime, but sometimes this is the most difficult time of day to do anything with a newborn. If an evening massage just isn't working for you try it first thing in the day when your baby is fresh.
- Baby may be too cold. Read this post for the five warms of baby massage.
- Baby may be overstimulated by new senses. If it's been a busy day and the baby has already had lots of new experiences to adjust too just leave it and try again tomorrow.
- Massage maybe too long, in my experience this is one of the most common mistakes new mums make when massaging their babies. Five minutes may be enough for a newborn, even if they totally love it they may have had enough by then.
- You are stressed out. Hormones are contagious, so if you aren't feeling totally loved up and relaxed you're baby won't either.
I still massage my toddler and she even massages me back now!!! I hope this post helps you enjoy baby massage and you will experience long lasting benefits for you and your baby.