The Importance of Infant Massage - Everyday Essentials

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Baby girl lying on a bed next opened plastic container with cream

The Importance of Infant Massage

By Tyler Hagan, Certified Aromatherapist & SEOR Admin

As parents, we face a pretty daunting task that lasts way beyond 18 years from birth. Our job starts before the baby is born and way beyond birth through their adulthood. I know we’ve all joked about “getting through the next 18 years”… but you all know it’s true. Our job as parents will never stop.

But what if I told you that the little things we do for our children as infants would be life lasting and would set a foundation that they are going to build the rest of their life on? Pretty intimidating. If you don’t think so, I’d suggest you be a little more honest with yourself (kidding! or am I?).

What if I also told you that there are small, surefire ways to start a healthy foundation for your youngsters? Well, it is true, and we’re going to take a deeper look into a very special way to do it.

Infant massage is a simple, easy to implement way to encourage healthy physical and emotional well-being in infants and toddlers and it starts day one of lives. When a baby is born, they are gently massaged as they are being cleaned and dried off. This not only helps relax the baby, but also encourages them to take that very first breath.

The benefits don’t stop there, however. When you touch your baby, you’re stimulating their sense of touch as well, which positively impacts their psychological and social development. Positive touch through massage can also aid in weight gain, supporting a healthy immune system, reducing stress, and promoting overall relaxation for parent and child. It’s also important as it helps build a strong, healthy bond between parent and child as well.

I’d like to challenge all of us parents with infants and toddlers to being implementing massage into our daily routines. It’s easy, and it doesn’t really have to take too much time at all. Here are a couple simple ways to utilize our beloved aromatics into this practice and some different ways to practice massage on our little ones.

Infused Massage Oil

Essential oil bottles next to chamomile and lavender flowers

In a clean bottle, infuse your jojoba oil with your dried lavender buds and calendula petals. The longer you let these herbals marinate in the oil, the stronger the infusion. But feel free to use the oil immediately.

Hydrosols for Massage

plant therapy hydrosolsAnother simple way to implement aromatics into our massage routines are with hydrosols. Hydrosols are gentle and effective enough for little ones and can be used for a wide variety of things. Depending on the hydrosol you choose, they can be both uplifting and relaxing for our little ones. I love blending our lavender and rose hydrosols together in a small spritz bottle. I let it sit out for a few minutes to warm up a little. And then I just spritz it on my little guy when I massage him. Once you’ve massaged your little one with the hydrosol, you can follow it up with your infused massage oil, or just plain jojoba oil.

Infant Massage Techniques

nursing motherThere are many different techniques you can use to massage your little ones, all of which are super simple and can be easily done at home or on the go.

Belly Massage

Belly Massages are great and can really help get things moving during those troubling times for little ones that result in upset. To do it, you just place your hand above their belly button and use the tips of your fingers to gently rub in a circular motion, repeating as many times as necessary. You want to be firm, yet very gentle.

Arm Massage

Arm massages are SUPER relaxing and very easy to do. All you have to do is hold your baby’s arm between your hands, and gently twist from left and right. You don’t want to twist too much, just so that your rubbing it in a back and forth motion, much like a roll. Start at baby’s shoulder and work your way down to their wrist and back up again.

Leg Massage

Leg massages, just like arm massages are very relaxing and comforting. Just gently give your baby’s leg a squeeze using your whole hand to wrap the leg. Start at the thigh and working your way down to their ankle. Repeat this a couple of times and then switch legs.

Foot Massage

adult hands holding little baby feetWhile foot massages can be very comforting to our little ones, you want to make sure you’re very gentle and aren’t causing discomfort. Not all babies or toddlers will tolerate this type of massage, so be sure to read your baby’s emotional cues and body language. To practice this technique gently hold your baby’s foot in your hand with your thumb positioned on the soles of their feet. Gently rub your thumb in a clockwise motion for a few minutes. Switch feet back and forth as necessary.

For more helpful tips, tricks, and advice for your little ones, check out our Essential Oil for Infants and Toddlers blog post, our Essential Oils for Teething blog post, and our Facebook group Safe Essential Oil Recipes!


53 thoughts on “The Importance of Infant Massage”

  • My daughter received training in Infant Massage. The benefits for her baby girl, my grand baby, are quite substantial. Sleeps nicely, happy baby.

  • My 3yo loves his massage time after his shower! So happy to have great products to help him unwind from a busy toddler day!

  • I am so thankful for this info. The other day, I read about making my own calendula cream for babies. Now I am learning how to make a massage oil + techniques. Very helpful.

  • These are the types of things I love reading! I never thought to use hydrosols during massage but that is a great idea to help calm him for his night time massage. Thank you for this idea!

  • I didnt know hydrosols were safe for babies but i do use the belly technique for upset tummies.

  • I look forward to seeimg the difference. Im definitely going to start messaging my little one daily.

  • Wonderful ideas for spending lovely time with our little ones. I like the idea of infusing the massage oil. Is Jojoba suggested because of its long shelf life?

  • As a massage therapist, I always wanted to do something beneficial to my own children, so I started giving them massages regularly after they were born. They are teens now, they still ask me to give them massages occasionally. I usually massage them with essential oils, so they know the benefits of essential oil too!

  • My little girl is 7 months and I love to massage her with the PT balm! Can wait to try the lavender hydrosols and see if it helps wind her down for the night

  • This is a great article. Massage at any age feels wonderful, and incorporating (safely) oils just bumps it up.

  • I’ll be sharing this blog with some many of my friends who have welcomed their first child! Wonderful information to start implementing everyday!

  • This is a great aritcle. I no longer have small babies but it is a great one to share with my friends with babies.

  • I love the picture of the little baby feet 🙂 I wish I was into oils when my littles were tiny. They’re three and five now so I feel blessed that we have an arsenal of oils and information, thanks to Plant Therapy!

  • I think it is so important to also realize that oils such as lavender can increase estrogen in the body. Good to know before applying a lot of it to young infant skin that absorbs things at a quicker rate than adult skin.

  • I do massage for my son after bathing, using coconut oil and adding lavender, immune boost essential oils as well as calming the child. He loves it.

  • This is great information. My 7 month old grandson loves a good massage. I will definitely incorporate my hydrosols in our little routine next time.Thank you for this

  • I love this! My babies are adults now and I so wish I had encouragement and guidance like this when they were babies. I can do my part now by sharing this and encouraging other mothers.

  • Great advice! I don’t have kids yet, but i have a dog and I’ve just started massaging his legs and body. I wish i could clone myself and give myself a massage every day lol!

  • I didn’t do hardly any massage on my now 2-year-old, but I will definitely start! I also have a 2-month-old, so I’m glad I learned about this now to start with him. I will be checking out the hydrosols & purchasing one (or two…or three).

  • I wish I messaged my son more as an infant. I am going to try some of these techniques on him now (8 months) I will definitely be better about it with my next baby. I am just getting into essential oils and how they can be used in different aspects of my family and I’s lives. So exciting!

  • I used baby massage on my first a lot especially to help with gas and constipation. I plan to add some lavender hydrosol to my collection for when my second is born!

  • I don’t have an infant anymore. Now she’s a toddler but she loves her oils on her chest and her feet. I’m so excited to try a hydrosol with her and she if she loves it just as much as her rollers

  • We love baby massage! We’re careful on what oils we expose our babies to but they LOOOVE it!

  • We used the belly massage a lot when the kiddos were tiny. It’s amazing how a simple massage can really help a little one feel better. Never thought of making a massage lotion but super excited to try it!

  • I have a squirmy 2 month old, a 5 year old, and a soon-to-be 7 year old. I enjoy massaging all of them when they let me!

  • When our son was born, a nurse friend gifted us a session of learning infant massage…so lovely. I wish I had known about hydrosols back then! Great post.

  • This is something I wish I’d done with my oldest two. They tend to be more sensitive to touch and ticklish, so when I try to massage oils on them they giggle and pull away. My youngest responds better, but thinking about it, I did do more massaging in her than I realized. I definitely plan to do this with our next baby.

  • It did not occur to me how useful it would be for infants. I love massages so why wouldn’t they? Thanks for this useful info.

  • My 4 year old loves massages, thank you for these great techniques, I will be putting them to practice ♡

  • This is a great article. Human touch is so important, introducing it early on just makes sense. Thanks for sharing.

  • I remember massaging my guys when they were little! They enjoyed it so much!! And at 20 and 13, they still want mama to massage them!!!

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