Baby Massage Guide: Six Months Plus
At this stage your baby will be much more active, wriggling, sitting up, crawling and trying to stand. Remember, it’s normal for an active baby to move around a lot, so you can be creative with the massage, working with any part of the body that is presented to you. It’s also a time to introduce more fun like songs, rhymes and games into your routine. Adapt the massage strokes to your baby’s more active developmental stage. Massage helps develop his self-confidence and his ability to relate to others while also helping to build his coordination and strength to help him prepare to walk.
Legs - Rolling
Leg rolling is a fun activity that increases body awareness. Once your baby shows that he enjoys the movement, you could introduce a song. Remember to slow the pace of your song down so that your baby can join in.
With your hands, roll his leg from thigh to ankle. With longer legs, adapt this stroke, rolling from knee to ankle.
If your baby wants to sit upright, you can adapt your massage. Massaging in this position helps to prepare him for sitting unsupported and strengthens the back muscles. It can also be soothing as a calming bedtime routine.
Swoop one hand after the other from neck to buttocks and down again. Your baby might want to play with a toy while you are massaging.
Gentle movements are a set of simple exercises to help to develop your baby’s coordination, align his spine and keep your baby flexible. You may learn more when you visit a massage class, but here is one example below.
Cross your baby’s arms at the chest three times, alternating which arm is over and under. Then gently stretch his arms out to the side. The rhythm is: cross-cross-cross-open. Repeat.
Finish with a kiss and a cuddle.
Through massage, you can gain increased awareness of how your baby communicates and ideas on ways to support your baby in their first few months. You and your baby will discover what is best for you both. It is important to be mindful that massage is something you do with, rather than to, your baby.
These massage strokes are based on INFANT MASSAGE: A Handbook for Loving Parents by Vimala McClure, the founder of the IAIM.
The IAIM is a non-profit organization and does not endorse any product.