Not sure where to start with baby massage?

August 26, 2018

Not sure where to start with baby massage?

First of all, don’t worry! Baby massage is very easy as long as you stay in tune with your baby’s response. First, create an environment that’s comfortable for both of you. Think about what mood suits your bub - calm, warm and not too bright is our preference. It can be anytime of day that works for you both, just avoid massaging too soon after feeding. And don’t forget this is a time for connecting and learning - maintain eye contact, smile and communicate throughout.

The Infant Massage Information Service recommends starting with the legs as babies tend to be more used to being touched as part of nappy changing. You can then move onto arms, tummy, back and head. Just remember to watch for cues like their arms moving, which may indicate they want you to move onto a different area.

Legs and feet

  • Start with simple long strokes to signify the start of massage time
  • Holding one leg, gently clasp your baby’s thigh then stroke down in a “milking” action
  • Use two thumbs to alternately place pressure on the soles and tops of their feet - You might use this opportunity to talk to your baby about parts of their body

Arms and hands

  • Holding one arm, gently clasp the upper arm and stroke down in the same “milking effect”
  • Use two thumbs to alternately place pressure on the palms of their hand

Chest and belly

  • Use the palm of your hand to stroke outwards across your baby’s chest - This is a great place to be making eye contact
  • When massaging the tummy, use gentle, clockwise strokes to follow the path of digestion and avoid pressure on the bladder


  • Starting up at their neck, run two thumbs or fingers all the way down their spine and onto the backs of each leg
  • Flatten your hand and stroke vertically up and down

Head and face

  • Cup your hands at the back of your baby’s head and run your thumbs from the crown of their head to the back
  • Move onto the face by keeping your hands around their head and using your thumbs to stroke from the centre of the forehead outward above the browline
  • Use your fingers to rub light circles over their cheeks
  • Run your thumbs outward from the centre above their lips and then below

Should I use oil?

It’s completely up to you! We like using oil to reduce friction as part of the massage, but if you’re unsure, leave it out or just start with a few drops. The important thing is the type of oil. Mineral baby oils are petroleum-based and work by creating a film over the skin, so it clogs the pores and can disrupt natural absorption and secretion. A better option is always a natural, cold-pressed fruit or nut oil.

Macadamia oil is our favourite for the wonderful health benefits it offers. Not only is it hypoallergenic, but it’s also rich in Vitamin E so it nourishes baby’s skin beautifully. It’s also one of the closest natural oils to human skin so it absorbs quickly without leaving greasy residue. Our preference is for fragrance free oils so that nothing stimulates your baby but your hands.

How often should I do it?

The frequency of baby massage is entirely up to you and your baby. For many, giving baby massage a special place as part of a daily routine can be enjoyable. Perhaps it’s immediately after a bath, or a nap, or maybe it becomes part of winding down and settling before bedtime. It may only be 5 or 10 minutes, just make sure that you too can relax and enjoy this lovely time with your little one.

What is your favourite time of day to massage your baby? Tell us about it below.

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