Coconut oil massage with your baby is a practice that benefits both the skin and the soul. Bubbsi founder Sweta Doshi learned this firsthand. When her infant daughter Juhi started developing eczema, Sweta realized that Juhi’s nightly baths were causing her dry skin, redness, and painful irritation. Their pediatrician advised reducing baths to 2-3 times a week. On non-bath nights, Sweta gave Juhi baby massages with coconut oil, which did wonders for her skin and also became a special bonding time.
If the idea of baby massages conjures up images of candles, instrumental music, and an unachievable zen-like calm in your house, don’t stress! In this post, we’ll share key benefits of coconut oil massages as well as a how-to on creating a fun and easy baby massage routine, starring Bubbsi’s ultra moisturizing, fun-for-kids coconut oil products.
Why should you massage your baby?
1) Baby massage strengthens and protects skin.
Your baby’s skin, which is not fully developed in the first few years, absorbs and loses water more freely than adult skin. According to several studies, their skin is more prone to drying out with excessive water exposure and the use of harsh soaps. Gentle oil massages help remove dry skin cells at the surface level and pushes hydration deeper into the pores. It also increases blood flow and delivery of nutrients to help strengthen your baby’s natural skin barrier.
2) Baby massage could prevent eczema.
Recent research has found that consistent use of emollients (ingredients used to moisturize skin) on infants predisposed to eczema can help prevent or significantly reduce the skin condition. By forming a barrier on the top of the skin, the emollients hold in hydration and reduce water loss, preventing inflammation below the surface of the skin.
3) Baby massage fosters emotional development and reduces stress for everyone.
Baby massages are a great bonding activity at an early age. Massaging reduces stress in both the giver and receiver by releasing serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins—all of the happiness hormones. These hormones also foster alertness, memory, cognition, focus and learning in your baby’s brain. Studies even show that the benefits of physical touch can be seen in children at the molecular level even many years later.
4) Baby massage encourages sleep.
Skin-to-skin contact lowers your baby’s levels of the stress hormone cortisol and induces the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Baby massages can also help babies develop their circadian rhythm, or internal 24 hour clock, making it easier for them to follow their parent’s day and night schedule. Less crying and more sleeping at night for both baby and parents—research confirmed!
Why should you use coconut oil when massaging a baby?
Many parenting guides recommend using an odorless, edible, cold-pressed fruit or vegetable oil to reduce uncomfortable friction during baby massage. And while there are many baby massage oil options to choose from, we recommend using coconut oil for its multitude of benefits.
1) Coconut oil protects a baby’s skin.
Coconut oil is antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory, containing powerful agents to protect skin from potential pathogens. Did you know it has similar infection-fighting properties as breast milk?
2) Coconut oil is an effective moisturizer.
Unlike harsh soaps, coconut oil maintains skin hydration while cleansing. Coconut oil is primarily made up of medium chain fatty acids or “healthy fats” that help to repair the skin’s barrier, keeping the skin feeling soft and smooth.
3) Coconut oil is a great cleanser.
During bath time is another opportunity to incorporate baby massages and using coconut oil in tandem allows for extra care! This superstar ingredient softens keratin caps and hardened sebum, bringing gunk up to the skin’s surface so you can easily wash it away. Watch our Coconut Oil Balm’s powers in action with this cleansing demo!
Traditional coconut oil, however, can be a hassle—it’s either a chunky solid or super runny and goopy. Bubbsi is formulated with coconut oil massage in mind, giving you all of the benefits without the mess. Our deeply nourishing yet lightweight formulas squeeze easily out of a bottle and provide the right amount of slip without being greasy.
How do you massage a baby?
The ideal time to massage your baby is when their skin is still damp, to lock hydration into the pores. After bathtime, pat skin gently with a towel, then apply moisturizer and massage your baby. On non-bath days, we suggest using the five minutes in the morning and evening when you are changing your baby’s clothes for a quick baby massage on the changing table or on the bed.
To begin the coconut oil massage...
1) Start with your little one's feet while giving them something to play with (perhaps a Panda shaped bottle?) until they begin to engage with your touch.
2) Make light circles on the feet bottoms with your thumbs and then very lightly pull or tickle each toe as you count to 10.
3) Once they’re into it, repeat the circle motion on the calves and then bend the legs in and out at the knees.
4) Repeat this motion again on the quads, moving to tummy and chest.
5) Once on the chest, massage from the upper chest in outward motions toward the armpit to help engage the lymph nodes. This boosts immunity by removing toxins. Other important areas to massage are behind and under the ears as well as down the neck.
6) Move to the back and shoulders in the circular motion.
7) Finish with the arms and hands, gently pulling each finger while counting to 10 again.
8) Clear up congestion by using both thumbs in a downward motion moving from between the eyes, down the sides of the nose and out to the sinus area gently and repeatedly.
9) Finish with the forehead—moving from between the eyes to each temple with your thumbs.
And lastly, make it an expected routine and have fun with it, perhaps by singing their favorite song. We designed Bubbsi bottles with your kiddos in mind: Made of food-grade silicone, they are safe to play with while you get your baby massage on.
Nourish your baby’s skin and soul with coconut oil massages. Shop baby-massage-friendly Bubbsi products here.