Infant massage has numerous benefits that include promoting better sleep, facilitating body awareness, boosting immune system, sensory stimulation, improving the skin texture and blood circulation.

It is also know to help with babies’ digestion, their respiration besides reliving them of teething pains and helping waste elimination. Massage though a childcare practice can also be beneficial to the parents. It helps them learn about the baby, their needs and desires.

The baby massage with hands begins only after the baby is one month old. The massage can be done until the baby is 3-4 years old. Here’s the when, how and what of massaging babies:

1) What is the good time to massage your baby? Timing for massaging babies is important. Try working the massage when the child is relaxed. Thirty minutes after feeding baby is ideal.

2) How to start the massage: Lay the baby on a soft surface so that she feels comfortable and secure. Keep some little pillows handy. Remember that the baby's skin is soft, so discard your bracelet and rings and cut your nails short. Rub only about half-a-teaspoon of oil at a time on your palms so that they glide easily on the baby's body. You can apply more oil later as needed.

3) How to massage your baby? Always begin with massaging the legs. To place your hands directly on the infant's chest or abdomen to begin massaging can be intrusive and unacceptable to many infants. Use long firm strokes. Remember that your touches should be tender and do not make mechanic motions. If the baby wants to change position let her do so. Do not force her to keep a position; you can go back to these areas later on. Keep the baby engaged while massaging him or her by talking or singing to the infant. Light circular movements on chest and stomach, stroking across the shoulders, downward movement on the arms and legs and upward movements on the back are the best.

4) What to avoid while massaging? Do not use olive oil for infant massage. Olive oil is thick and cannot be absorbed sufficiently by the skin. Do not oil baby's palms or fingers as these little ones tend to put them in their mouths or eyes often and this may cause them irritation. Avoid rashes, wounds or areas where the baby has got his injections or vaccines as it may hurt. Do not massage the baby just before or after feeding, or when the baby is ill. Do not put too much pressure on the baby's fragile body and avoid the spine area