Baby Massage Balms
~Tessa Mancini Gillen, Herbalist, Nutritionist, Mama
Baby massage is a sweet ritual that is unfortunately greatly underutilized. It provides a solution for many new baby woes including to help with weight gain in preterm babies, decreasing stress levels across the board, easing the symptoms of colic, soothing tummy issues, aiding with teething discomforts, and helping with sleep problems, which effects almost all parents to some degree. (2)(4) One study showed that an astounding 93% of participating parents reported a decrease in several common colic symptoms during a 3 week trial. (1) Another study reported that the benefits of infant massage aren’t limited to the babies, but also extent to the moms, alleviating symptoms of post partum depression. (3) The benefits seem endless, and infant massage is easy, so why not make it part of your daily ritual with the little one. It’s best to find a moment when your little one is calm and relaxed, and many find it to be a useful addition to the nighttime routine. Babies love the soft and gentle touch of the hands, and find it relaxing, therapeutic, and can help promote a sound and peaceful nights rest.
How to get started?
Work your way down from the head to the itty bitty toes, with soft and gentle touches. Don’t apply too much pressure, as it’s not about massaging the muscles, but more about soft touches to the skin. There is no right or wrong way, just follow your baby’s cues. Be soft, be gentle, touch with love and intention, and your baby will receive it all in. Avoid the genital areas, steer clear of the face if using essential oils, and remember to keep it soft. Here is a simple recipe for a baby massage balm to get you started.
70 grams cocoa butter
30 grams Shea butter
5 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops German chamomile essential oil
1. Melt the cocoa butter and Shea butter in a double boiler.
2. Remove from heat and pour into molds.
3. Pour 1 drop of essential oil into individual molds compartments. This recipe yields 10 balms, so you will end up with 5 balms with 1 drop of chamomile essential in each, and 5 balms with 1 drop of lavender essential oil.
4. Place in fridge until set.
It is a good idea to keep these refrigerated, as they are prone to melting in hot weather. They will melt on contact with the skin, and are also great during pregnancy for stretch mark prevention, as well as a great daily moisturizer.
1. Huhtala V, Lehtonen L, Heinonen R, Korvenranta H. “Infant massage compared with crib vibrator in the treatment of colicky infants.” Pediatrics. 2000 Jun; 105(6):E84
2. Lahat S, Mimouni FB, Ashbel G, Dollberg S. “Energy expenditure in growing preterm infants receiving massage therapy.” Journal of American College of Nutritionists. 2007 Aug;26(4):356-9
3. O Higgins M, St James Roberts I, Glover V. “Postnatal depression and mother and infant outcomes after infant massage.” Journal of Affective Disorders. 2008 Jul; 109(1-2):189-92
4. Underdown A, Barlow J, Chung V, Stewart-Brown S. “Massage intervention for promoting mental & physical health in infants aged under six months.” Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews. 2006 Oct 18; (4): CD005038