By Tyler Hagan, Certified Aromatherapist & SEOR Admin
As parents, we face a pretty daunting task that lasts way beyond 18 years from birth. Our job starts before the baby is born and way beyond birth through their adulthood. I know we’ve all joked about “getting through the next 18 years”… but you all know it’s true. Our job as parents will never stop.
But what if I told you that the little things we do for our children as infants would be life lasting and would set a foundation that they are going to build the rest of their life on? Pretty intimidating. If you don’t think so, I’d suggest you be a little more honest with yourself (kidding! or am I?).
What if I also told you that there are small, surefire ways to start a healthy foundation for your youngsters? Well, it is true, and we’re going to take a deeper look into a very special way to do it.
Infant massage is a simple, easy to implement way to encourage healthy physical and emotional well-being in infants and toddlers and it starts day one of lives. When a baby is born, they are gently massaged as they are being cleaned and dried off. This not only helps relax the baby, but also encourages them to take that very first breath.
The benefits don’t stop there, however. When you touch your baby, you’re stimulating their sense of touch as well, which positively impacts their psychological and social development. Positive touch through massage can also aid in weight gain, supporting a healthy immune system, reducing stress, and promoting overall relaxation for parent and child. It’s also important as it helps build a strong, healthy bond between parent and child as well.
I’d like to challenge all of us parents with infants and toddlers to being implementing massage into our daily routines. It’s easy, and it doesn’t really have to take too much time at all. Here are a couple simple ways to utilize our beloved aromatics into this practice and some different ways to practice massage on our little ones.
Infused Massage Oil
- 2 oz Organic Jojoba Oil
- 1/4 cup Dried Lavender Buds
- 1/4 cup Dried Calendula Petals
In a clean bottle, infuse your jojoba oil with your dried lavender buds and calendula petals. The longer you let these herbals marinate in the oil, the stronger the infusion. But feel free to use the oil immediately.
Hydrosols for Massage
Another simple way to implement aromatics into our massage routines are with hydrosols. Hydrosols are gentle and effective enough for little ones and can be used for a wide variety of things. Depending on the hydrosol you choose, they can be both uplifting and relaxing for our little ones. I love blending our lavender and rose hydrosols together in a small spritz bottle. I let it sit out for a few minutes to warm up a little. And then I just spritz it on my little guy when I massage him. Once you’ve massaged your little one with the hydrosol, you can follow it up with your infused massage oil, or just plain jojoba oil.
Infant Massage Techniques
There are many different techniques you can use to massage your little ones, all of which are super simple and can be easily done at home or on the go.
Belly Massages are great and can really help get things moving during those troubling times for little ones that result in upset. To do it, you just place your hand above their belly button and use the tips of your fingers to gently rub in a circular motion, repeating as many times as necessary. You want to be firm, yet very gentle.
Arm massages are SUPER relaxing and very easy to do. All you have to do is hold your baby’s arm between your hands, and gently twist from left and right. You don’t want to twist too much, just so that your rubbing it in a back and forth motion, much like a roll. Start at baby’s shoulder and work your way down to their wrist and back up again.
Leg massages, just like arm massages are very relaxing and comforting. Just gently give your baby’s leg a squeeze using your whole hand to wrap the leg. Start at the thigh and working your way down to their ankle. Repeat this a couple of times and then switch legs.
While foot massages can be very comforting to our little ones, you want to make sure you’re very gentle and aren’t causing discomfort. Not all babies or toddlers will tolerate this type of massage, so be sure to read your baby’s emotional cues and body language. To practice this technique gently hold your baby’s foot in your hand with your thumb positioned on the soles of their feet. Gently rub your thumb in a clockwise motion for a few minutes. Switch feet back and forth as necessary.