In my last blog post titled Massage is the new bath, I talked about the broad benefits of baby massage, including strengthening the skin barrier, fostering emotional development, helping with sleep and boosting immunity. Moisture massages have even been seen to prevent eczema!
But if the idea of massages with your little ones conjures up images of candles, instrumental music, and an unachievable zen-like calm in your home, DON’T STRESS!! It doesn’t have to be like that and it certainly isn’t in my home. I believe you can integrate quick massages into your daily life for kids across ages.
In this post, I’m sharing a how-to on baby / child massage plus some of my own tips on making it a fun and easy part of your routine.
HOW TO MASSAGE YOUR BABY / CHILD
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. Do light circles on the feet bottoms with your thumbs and then very lightly pull / tickle each toe as you count to 10.
Once they’re into it, repeat the circle motion on the calves and then bend the legs in & out at the knees. Repeat this motion again on the quads, moving to tummy and chest. Once on the chest, massage from the upper chest in outward motions toward the armpit to help engage the lymph nodes. Move to the back and shoulders in the circular motion. Finish with the arms and hands, gently pulling each finger while counting to 10 again.
Face massage is wonderful for congestion in particular. Use 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. Finish with the forehead - moving from between the eyes to each temple with your thumbs.
Now that you have the basics, here are some of my personal tips to integrate happy massages into your daily (likely crazy) life:
1. You don’t have to use a messy oil - use what is easy.
While massage oils are the most traditional way to massage your baby’s skin, they come with a lot of mess. Holding down a wiggly kid while scooping and slathering coconut oil is no walk in the park. Our Bubbsi Whipped Coconut Oil Body Cream is formulated with massage in mind. This deeply nourishing yet lightweight cream squeezes easily out of a bottle and provides the right amount of slip without being greasy. For even deeper moisture, use our Coconut Oil Balm.
2. Don’t stress about prep - it can be five minutes a day while you’re changing clothes.
Let’s be real - what parent has the time to add another activity to their daily routine? We suggest using the five minutes in the morning and evening when you are changing your little one’s clothes for a quick moisture massage. There’s not much prep and setup required - just perform on the changing table or on the bed and keep your Bubbsi products handy!
3. Massage while skin is damp to lock in hydration.
Dermatologists will tell you that adding a moisturizer is most effective when your child’s skin is already damp. It helps lock the hydration into the pores. When your child gets out of the shower, pat skin gently with a towel but then apply your moisturizer and massage in fairly quickly to protect that hydration. Recently we’ve even been layering our Body Cream first (a formula that contains water) for the hydration, followed by our waterless Oil Balm to lock in the moisture. It works wonderfully on super dry areas.
4. Make it expected and fun!
In my experience, the key to getting my kids to do something is to make it routine and fun. With my daughter, Juhi, I usually sing one of her favorite songs while massaging and now that she’s older, she chooses the song. Plus, we designed Bubbsi bottles with your kiddos in mind. They’ll love to play with our cuties while you get your massage time in.
5. Massage is not just for babies - it works for all ages.
Yep, I still give my four and a half year old quick massages. We do it right after the shower on his bed and sometimes even while he’s standing up. Lately, I make car noises (“vroom vroom”) as I apply a moisturizer and massage in circles onto his arms, legs, tummy and back and he becomes a total giggle monkey. My older nephews (6 and 11 years) still absolutely love coconut oil massages from their grandma!