Mini Massage Manual

 

People don’t realise that communication for a baby, the first communication it receives and the first language of it’s development, is through its skin

Massaging your baby simply communicates love, releases tension, and helps you better understand your baby’s needs

Vimula McClure

A guide to infant massage for loving parents

 

Contents:

Introduction

Course Structure

Oils

Behavioural States

Strokes

To Begin

Legs

Tummy

Chest

Arms

Face

Back

Relief of Colic & Gas

Gentle Movements

Adaptations for the Growing Child

 

 

Introduction

 

Infant massage is an ancient tradition in many cultures, that has been rediscovered in the West over the last 25 years. The massage routine uses a carefully balanced combination of Swedish, Indian and Reflexology techniques.

The quality of closeness between parent and baby can have life long benefits. A child that is touched in a sensitive and loving way will feel both secure and confident.

Infant Massage is something that every parent or care giver can learn.

Evidence shows it may help:

  • improve communication between parent and baby
  • calm babies and relieve their stress
  • soothe babies and help them to sleep better
  • babies develop awareness of their bodies
  • parents to understand their babies needs
  • aid digestion, relieve colic, wind and constipation
  • develop muscle tone and co-ordination
  • strengthen the immune system
  • regulate breathing and relieve nasal congestion

 

 

 

 

5 WEEK COURSE

Week 1

Legs & Feet
Colic routine

Week 2

Tummy & Chest

Week 3

Arms

Week 4

Face & Back

Week 5

Full routine

 

 

OILS

 

It is recommended that babies are massaged with:

  • High quality vegetable oil
  • Cold pressed oil
  • Preferably organically grown oil
  • Unscented oil

Typically these type of oils contain beneficial ingredients (eg Vit E, A B1, B2, B6 and calcium), are edible and absorbed through the skin, nourishing and allowing the skin to breathe. Additionally the have no added odour.

It is important that parents and infants smell each others unique scent which can play an important role in bonding and attachment.

Vegetable oil can be kept in a cool, dark place to help preserve it. There are no restrictions on the use of vegetable oils for babies with eczema, except if the area has an open wound or is infected, in which case oil should be avoided. If a doctor has prescribed a cream for eczema, it can be used.

Mineral oils (such as baby oil) form a barrier on top of the skin making it hard for the kin to breathe. They can also be greasy making it difficult to handle the baby safely and could transfer on to clothing.

 

 

 

BEHAVIOURAL STATES

Sleep States

Quiet Sleep / Deep Sleep

 

  • Lack of body activity / movement
  • Smooth regular breathing
  • Eyes are closed tight
  • Lack of facial or eye movement
  • Bursts of sucking movements

 

 

  • Occasionally startles
  • Very difficult to awaken
  • If awakened, quickly returns to sleep
  • Feeding is usually unsuccessful
  • Generally unresponsive

 

Active Sleep / Light Sleep

 

  • More body activity
  • Irregular breathing
  • Facial movements
  • Movement of eyes (REM)

 

 

  • Easier to awaken
  • Feeding can be difficult
  • Baby can even smile
  • More responsive

 

Transitional State

Drowsy

 

  • Variable activity
  • Irregular breathing
  • Eyes may be opened then closed
  • Eyes glazes
  • Delayed responsiveness

 

 

  • Easier to awaken
  • Hard to tell if baby is awake/asleep
  • If left alone, may return to sleep
  • Feeding difficult until fully awake
  • Can awaken or go back to sleep

Awake States

Quiet Alert

 

  • Minimal body activity
  • Regular breathing
  • Face is bright and shiny
  • Most attentive to stimuli
  • Observant, taking everything in

 

 

  • Good time to feel, hold and interact
  • Responds and learns best
  • In the first hours after birth, babies have intense periods of this state followed by deep sleep

 

Active Alert

 

  • Much body activity
  • Irregular breathing
  • Facial movement
  • Sensitive to stimuli

 

 

  • May signal for a change - feed etc
  • Fussiness
  • Difficult to interact
  • If left along, can console self

 

Crying

 

  • Irregular breathing
  • Facial grimace
  • Cries
  • Colour changes

 

 

  • Limits have been reached
  • Needs a change
  • Needs consoling
  • Variable sensitivity to stimuli

 

 

 

STROKES

 

TO BEGIN

THE FLUTTER

This should be used to start a massage session. This becomes a cue that providing baby wants to participate, massage is going to begin

Action:

  • Stroke from the top of the head, down baby’s sides to the feet

 

LEGS

 

THE SLIDE & GLIDE

Action:

  • Hold the ankle to support the leg
  • Make a ‘C’ shape with the other hand
  • Place the fingers on the top of the thigh, the thumb underneath
  • Stroke down from the top of the thigh to the ankle
  • Stroke up from the ankle to the top of the thigh
  • Repeat 4 – 6 times

 

 

 

 

THE SQUIDGY SQUEEZE

Action:

  • Hold the top of the thigh with both hands
  • Gently squeeze the top of the thigh
  • Move the hands down the leg towards the ankle, squeezing as the hands glide down the leg
  • Repeat 3 times

 

*Note - release over the knee joint

  

 

 

 

 

SOLE SWEEP:

Action:

  • Support the baby’s ankle
  • Place one thumb on the heel and stroke upwards towards the toes
  • When at the top of the foot by the toes, repeat the motion with the other thumb
  • Movement should be stroking from heel towards toes
  • Repeat 5 times with each thumb

 

 

 

 

PIGGY PINCH:

Action:

  • Using the first finger and the thumb
  • Take each toe in turn starting with the big toe
  • Role toe between the thumb and first finger from the bottom of the toe upwards

 

*Note – use the rhyme ‘This little piggy went to market. The last little piggy goes to sleep and hold the foot

 

 

 

 

ROCK & ROLL BALL

Action:

  • Using the first finger, position across the top of the ball of the foot in the crease of the toes
  • Gently rock the finger backwards and forwards

 

*Note – In reflexology terms this area of the foot relates to the shoulders in the chest. In principle relaxes the shoulders, opens up the chest

 

 

 

 

ROCK & ROLL HEEL

Action:

  • From the above position, slide the first finger down the foot to the top of the heel
  • Repeat the action of rocking the finger backwards and forwards

 

*Note – In reflexology terms this area of the foot relates to the tummy and abdomen. In principle may help the symptoms of colic, wind & constipation

 

 

 

 

THUMB PUSH

 

Action:

  • Support the ankle
  • Use both thumbs together, one thumb positioned on the ball of the foot, the other on the heel
  • Press the thumbs gently in to the sole of the foot
  • Move one thumb upwards from the heel to the ball of the foot and the other thumb from the ball of the foot to the heel

Repeat 2-3 times

 

 

 

 

FOOTIE FAN

Action:

  • Support the baby’s ankle
  • Place on thumb on the top of the foot by the toes
  • Stroke upwards towards the ankle
  • Repeat with alternating thumbs moving from the toes to the ankle
  • Repeat 4-6 times

 

 

 

DAISY CHAIN

Action:

  • Support the baby’s ankle
  • Using the thumbs, make small circles around the baby’s ankle joint

Repeat 2-3 times

 

 

 

 

WRIGGLE ROUND

Action:

  • Hold the baby’s thigh between the palms of the hands
  • Roll the leg between the hands, gradually moving towards the ankle
  • Repeat the motion moving from the ankle back up towards the thigh
  • Do the action to the rhyme ‘Jelly on the plate’

 

*Note – Care should be taken not to twist the knee joint

 

 

 

TUSHI TICKLE

Action:

  • Position both hands underneath baby’s bottom
  • Apply gentle pressure in a circular motion on baby’s bottom cheeks
  • Sweep hands under the bottom and down to the thighs

 

*Note –babies will eventually lift their bottom in enjoyment of the massage

 

 

 

TUMMY

 

BELLY BRUSH

Action:

  • Position the hand sideways across the top of the tummy
  • Applying gentle pressure glide the hand from the top of the tummy to the bottom
  • Repeat the action with alternating hands moving from the top of the tummy to the bottom
  • Repeat 4-6 times with each hand

 

*Note – for very young babies use fingers rather that full hand

 

 

 

TUMMY TONER

Action:

  • Position thumbs either side of the belly button
  • Middle of the thumbs should be level with the belly button
  • Stroke the thumbs outwards towards the waist
  • Repeat 4-6 times

 

 

 

TICK TOCK CLOCK

Action:

  • Using the pads of the fingers, keep the palm flat against the baby’s tummy
  • Using light pressure, stroke in a circular motion around the tummy in a clockwise direction
  • Use alternating hands

Repeat 6 times with each hand

 

 

 

 

HIGH LOW RAINBOW

Action:

  • Using the pads of the fingers, keep the palm flat
  • Stroke down the right side (as you are facing them) of the tummy from the top to the bottom (High to Low)
  • Trace an upside down U starting from the bottom of the baby’s tummy on the left side (as you are facing them), up and over the top of the tummy and down the right side (drawing a rainbow)
  • Repeat 3 times

 

** Note – keep below the rib cage

 

 

 

TUMMY TICKLE

Action:

  • Place your right hand flat across baby’s tummy
  • Gently press in the first, then second, third and fourth finger
  • Move had across from the left to the right and repeat the action
  • Repeat 3 times

 

 

 

CHEST

 

HANDS ON HEART

Action:

  • Position hands flat on baby’s chest, tips of forefingers touching
  • Stroke upwards , then moving hands apart stroke outwards towards the sides of the chest
  • Stroke down the sides of the chest, bring fingers together, fingers touching at the bottom of chest
  • Stroke back up the middle of the chest so hands are back where they started
  • Repeat 3 times

 

 

 

CROSS YOUR HEART

Action:

  • Position right hand on baby’s waist below the rib cage
  • Glide the hand diagonally across the baby’s chest to the opposite shoulder
  • Give the shoulder a gentle squeeze, and glide the hand back to the original position
  • Repeat with the left hand on the other side of the baby
  • Repeat 3 times on each side

 

 

 

ARMS

 

ICKLE TICKLE

Action:

  • Gently raise baby’s arm
  • Using finger tips, stroke down from beneath the armpit towards the waist
  • Repeat 4 times

 

 

 

 

SLIDE AND GLIDE


Action:

  • Hold the wrist to support the arm
  • Make a ‘C’ shape with the other hand
  • Place the fingers on the top of the arm, the thumb underneath
  • Stroke down from the top of the arm to the wrist
  • Stroke up from the wrist to the top of the arm

Repeat 3 times

 

SQUIDGY SQUEEZE


Action:

  • Hold the top of the arm with both hands
  • Gently squeeze the top of the arm
  • Move the hands down the arm towards the wrist, squeezing as the hands glide down the arm

Repeat 3 times

 

 

 

PINKIE PINCH

Action:

  • Using your first finger and the thumb
  • Take each of baby’s fingers in turn (starting with the thumb)
  • Gently role thumb and then each finger between your thumb and first finger moving from the bottom of the baby’s finger upwards

*Note – use the rhyme ‘Tommy Thumb’

                 

 

 

 

 

DAISY CHAIN

Action:

  • Support the baby’s wrist
  • Using the thumbs, make small circles around the baby’s wrist joint
  • Repeat 2-3 times

 

 

 

 

WRIGGLE ROUND

Action:

  • Hold the top of the baby’s arm between the palms of the hands
  • Roll the arm between the hands, gradually moving towards the wrist
  • Repeat the motion moving from the wrist back up towards the shoulder
  • Do the action to the rhyme ‘Jelly on the plate’

 

*Note – Care should be taken not to twist the elbow joint

 

 

 

FACE

 

DRIFT TO DREAMS

Action:

  • Place the pads of the forefingers in the centre of the forehead
  • Gently sweep the fingers to the sides of the forehead
  • Repeat 3 times

 

** Note – try not to cover the eyes with the hands

 

 

 

 

SLEEPY PEEPERS

Action:

  • Place the thumbs at the top of the nose at the centre of the eyebrows
  • Stroke in an arch above the baby’s brow line from the centre to the edges
  • Repeat 3-5 times

 

 

 

BREATHE EASY

Action:

  • Using your ring finger, place the tips together at the bridge of the nose
  • Sweep the fingers down the sides of the nose and out along the cheeks towards the ears

 

**Note – take care whilst working close to baby’s eyes – baby’s will move their head towards the fingers

 

 

 

 

SOOTHING SMILE

Action:

  • Using your thumbs or forefingers, place the tips just above the middle of the top lip
  • Sweep outwards and upwards along the top of the lips to the cheeks in the shape of a smile

Repeat the action underneath the bottom lip

 

 

 

 

JAW JIGGLE

Action:

  • Using the pads of the fingers place either side of the jaw
  • Make small circles around the jaw line moving from the back of the jaw towards the chin
  • Repeat 3 times

 

 

 

 

BONNIE BABY

Action:

  • Place both hands gently on the top of baby’s head
  • In one sweeping motion, stroke both hands towards the back of the head, behind the ears, along the jaw line ending at the chin

Repeat 3 times

 

**Note – stroke to be avoided if the baby has an ear or throat infection

 

 

BACK

 

SHOULDER SWEEP

Action:

  • Starting at the top of the back, place both hands, palms facing down flat, sideways across the back
  • Stroke both hands sideways across the back simultaneously
  • Repeat 4-6 times

 

 

 

 

TOP TO TOE

Action:

  • Starting at the top of the back, place the hand palm down flat, sideways across the shoulders
  • Sweep from the shoulders down the back to the top of the bottom
  • Repeat 3 times
  • Sweep from the shoulders down the back all the way to the toes
  • Repeat 3 times

 

 

 

 

BACK BUBBLES

Action:

  • Place hands either side of the spine at the top of the back on the shoulders
  • Using the pads of the fingers, make circular movements either side of the spine moving from the shoulders, down the length of the back towards the top of the bottom
  • Repeat motion moving from the base of the back up towards the shoulders

 

 

 

 

FAIRY FINGERS

Action:

  • Using one hand, place palm down, fingers on either side of baby’s spine
  • Apply gentle pressure, using finger tips slowly stroke down baby’s back from the neck to the bottom
  • Repeat 3 times using a lighter touch each time

 

 

 

MASSAGE FOR THE RELIEF OF COLIC & GAS

 

The following routine can be used to alleviate the symptoms of colic which can often manifest as tummy pain and trapped wind.

The routine takes approximately 5 minutes and it is recommended that this be performed 2 – 3 times a day for at least 2 weeks.

1. Rest & Relax

Place both hands on baby’s tummy, take a few deep breaths whilst engaging in eye contact, smiling and making soothing sounds to the baby

 

 

2. Belly Brush

Do 6 times with each hand. Stroke with alternating hands from the bottom of the rib cage to the top of the legs

 

 

3. Tuck to tummy

Holding gently round the ankles, bring the knees up to the tummy. Hold for a slow count of 6, release legs and gently bounce them in your hands

 

 

4. Tick Tock Clock & Rainbow

Do alternating strokes of the Tick Tock Clock & then Rainbow, 6 times each

 

 

5. Tuck to Tummy

Holding gently round the ankles, bring the knees up to the tummy. Hold for a slow count of 6, release legs and gently bounce them in your hands

 

 

GENTLE MOVEMENTS

 

These movements are simple exercises that gently stretch baby’s arms and legs, massage the stomach and pelvis and align the spine.

They are like yoga poses adapted for a baby. Be very gentle and have fun with this routine incorporating rhymes and games.

Love Hug Cross your baby’s arms at the chest three times, alternating which arm is over and under. Then gently stretch the arms out to the sides. The rhythm is: cross – cross – cross – open, then repeat

Criss Cross Hold one arm at the wrist and the opposite leg at the ankle. Gently bring the arm down to the ribcage and foot up towards the shoulder (allow the knee to bend), crossing the leg and arms so that the arm goes to the outside of the leg, and cross again so the arm is under the leg, then cross once more with the arm over the leg. Now stretch them out in opposite directions.

Cross Legs Cross the legs over each other three times, alternating which leg is over and under. Then gently stretch the legs out straight towards you.

Tuck to tummy Push the knees together up in to the tummy, then stretch them out straight. If the baby resists straightening the legs, bounce them gently and encourage the baby to relax. Repeat several times

Bicycle Gently push the knees in to the tummy, one after the other, then bounce them out straight to relax.

 

ADAPTING MASSAGE FOR THE GROWING CHILD

 

Active Crawler

  • Keep in mind behavioural states
  • Massage the parts they like best
  • Use songs or rhymes
  • Have them sit on your knee
  • Make it playful and fun
  • Use toys to keep them occupied

Toddler

  • Use relaxing strokes before bed
  • Child may reject certain areas
  • Use songs / games
  • Let the child choose the area to be massaged
  • Offer the child a choice

Pre-School

  • Tell stories – engage their imagination
  • Sing songs
  • Let the child choose the area to be massaged
  • Offer the child a choice

School Age

  • Make up stories
  • Let the child tell a story
  • Adjust strokes for longer limbs
  • Keep clothes on if appropriate

Teenage

  • Respect modesty
  • Adapt to their interests – eg after sports, pamper massage
  • Use music
  • Use to ease tension – shoulder rub during break from homework
  • Let them massage you