So often we see moms devote their entire day taking care of their little ones that they tend to forget to take care of themselves. And while giving our time and attention is the best thing we can do for our children, we must not forget that we need TLC too. So here is my family’s favorite baby-and-mom routine—an ancient Indian massage technique that is not only easy enough to incorporate into your existing routine, but is also guaranteed to make you and your little one happy, healthy and calm.
What’s In It for Your Baby
This Indian massage technique is best done at night after bath time, as your baby prepares for a long night’s sleep. Babies love routines! I recommend you give your baby its massage at the same time every night to teach it to expect this little reward. Massaging your baby this way not only strengthens your bond, but will also calm him or her down, making it much easier for you to put him or her to bed.
What You’ll Need
For this massage I use a cold-pressed organic olive oil and add a few drops of organic lavender oil into it. You can also use a preblended high-quality baby oil product like California Baby I Love You Massage Oil.
How to Do the Indian Massage for Babies
1. Create a tranquil environment.
First, put the baby into a comfortable position on its back with a soft surface under them. I like to use a folded towel on my changing table to make sure I am at a height that doesn’t create extra strain for my body. After positioning your little one, ask if he is ready for his massage. Soon the baby should give a facial queue that it’s OK to proceed.
2. Start the massage.
Massage the chest in an outward rainbow motion. In India, my aunties often do 20 strokes before moving to another body part. After that, massage the left arm as if you’re milking a cow: Using light to medium pressure (depending on your baby’s tolerance level), squeeze the arm from the shoulder all the way to the hand. Next, massage the left leg using the same technique. The pressure and stroke is designed to loosen baby’s stiff muscles and create drainage. After the left leg, massage the right leg and then the right arm.
After completing the circle of the body, use two to three fingers to rub the baby’s tummy in circular clockwise motions. This helps to release trapped gas in the tummy. Before turning the baby over, I also like to give my baby a gentle head massage.
Once on its tummy, you are going to massage the baby’s back using up-and-down motions. Not all babies can handle this position for a long time. But as they get older, they will get stronger and have more control over their neck muscles. This is also a great position for them to explore their newly developing strength.
3. Listen to your baby.
Any time your baby isn’t happy, try massaging the hands or feet: This tends to calm their little spirits. Also remember that your baby spent a long time cramped inside your womb, so stretching and moving is new and awkward for them. If your baby is squirmy or whiny during the massage initially, don’t worry. Within a few days, they will grow to love it and even expect it.
The Mommy Version
Now that you have the baby in bed, it’s time for your own mommy massage. Now I know at this point that all you want is to collapse on your bed and sleep, but investing in a short self-massage (even for just 5 minutes) is really well worth it. I love to give myself a traditional Abhyanga massage before a hot bath or just before sleeping, if that’s all the time I have left in me.
For this, you will follow the same clockwise pattern on your body, but where your bones are straight (like your arms and legs), do it in up-and-down motions, and then use a circular motion for the joints. Feel free to use the same potion you use for your baby, but another great alternative is cured, organic, cold-pressed sesame oil for the body. For my face, I choose a potent anti-aging and brightening oil like my M. Steves Ultra-Nourishing Boost. I also love the small molecular structure of the rosehip seed oil that leaves my skin feeling silky and smooth, not greasy. Your skin will love you for the deep hydration and powerful fatty acid nourishment. The massage will also assist in reducing inflammation and stimulate toxin release.
Self-care is an expression of self-love: The more you love yourself, the more love you have to shine on that adorable little one!