Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Baby Massage Oils

The type of oil will depend on your baby, your traditions, skin type, cost, allergies and healthy (to name a few). I hope that I have covered the oil you would be choosing on this page.

Vegetable oil (cold pressed) 

Advantages -

  • None greasy
  • Not photosensitive so would work for babies who require photo-therapy or overhead heater
  • Does not leave skin slippery
  • No scent
  • Skin will continue to function naturally
  • May contain vitamin E 
Disadvantages -

  • Contains allergens and thus has the potential to give a reaction
  • Cheaper or poor quality oils may contain contaminants such as yeast moulds, fungal spores, plant chemicals lead and other things you wouldn't want to rub on your baby
  • Can have a lot of variation due to different manufacturers, process and storage (meaning each batch might be a little different)

Refined Oil (almond, avocado, grape seed etc)

Advantages - 

  • None greasy
  • None photosensitive so would be fine to use on babies who need photo-therapy or overhead heater
  • Skin will continue to function naturally 
  • Does not leave hands or baby slippery
  • No scent
  • No allergens in the oil
  • Long shelf life once you open a bottle
  • It is cheaper than cold pressed oils and unrefined oils
Disadvantages - 

  • Little nutrient value and no real 'goodness' imparted onto skin
  • Oils may change during the refining processes
  • May contain solvent residue

Mineral Oils

Advantages - 

  • Mineral oil is cheap
  • There are no allergens
  • It will not go off
Disadvantages - 

  • Not a good medium for massage
  • Too greasy & sticky 
  • Possibly photosensitive to might not be ideal for infants undergoing photo-therapy or overhead heater.
  • Leaves skin slipper and may cause parents to lose grip on infants post massage
  • This oil is not used in any food and the implications of a baby ingesting the oil from sucking their hands post massage are unknown.
  • Most mineral oils have an added scent which may cause a reaction on the skin, may over stimulate the baby and will dull the scent of their parents. The scent of their parents is a strong point of bonding during massage sessions
  • This type of oil is not absorbed into the skin and will inhibit the natural functions like heat regulation, sweating and breathability of the skin. 
I tend to use an oil that contains the following things: Sunflower oil, Peach kernel oil, Jojoba oil and Vitamin E. If you go with the philosophy that if you wouldn't put it IN your body don't put it ON your body you will probably end up with a nice oil, with a not too greasy texture that will compliment baby's skin. 

Massage Preparation

It is important to get the right ambiance in the room you will be massaging in. A calm, warm and dimly lit room is ideal. Both you and baby can be fully relaxed before you start. Something to consider is how you will communicate with baby during the session, ideally you will have soft relaxed and happy facial features, warm hands and a soothing calm and controlled voice.

 Remember to look for cues that baby may want you to stop. Baby will make cooing noises, smile, gurgle and wiggle with glee while enjoying a massage. Baby will make uncomfortable noises, may cry, will jerk away and become a little grumpy if they aren't in the mood for a massage!

  • Warm room
  • Both be comfortable - sit on a bed, cushions, yoga mat or similar. Make sure baby has a towel or blanket underneath to ensure comfort.
  • Switch of t.v, unplug the phone and leave your mobile in another room. Minimize the disturbances. 
  • Perhaps try some natural music, try something water based as the sound can be comforting. It may be too much of a distraction so try it out and see.
  • Try and fit in a massage around the bedtime routine. It doesn't have to be straight before but in the winding down time before night will give baby an indicator it is time to relax. 
  • Do not try a session if you are feeling upset, stressed or unhappy - these emotions will be picked up
  • Take off your rings and bracelets. Baby has very delicate skin.
  • ASK. Ask your baby if they would like a massage. This is giving continual conformation that they have the right to say 'No' should they not want their body touched. 
  • Talk, talk about your day, talk about life, talk about things that make you happy. 
  • Have oil, spare clothes, nappies and a drink near by.
  • While you swap between routines, keep contact with your baby. There is no need to move your hands away/
  • If you miss a stroke, don't worry you will not harm your baby. You are giving loving affirmations vocally, with eye contact and with touch. You will be thanked for it. 
  • Often (as with mine) your baby may cry out a few times during a massage, this could be an emotional response to a touch in that moment - it is not always necessary to finish the session early. Comfort and reassure with touch and vocally and see what happens.
  • Adapt your stroke pressure, how many you do and type to your baby - he/she might not love them all. 
  • ALWAYS finish with a kiss, cuddle and a 'Thank you'.


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