The Benefits of Baby Massage Oil
|Estimated reading Time - 13 minutes
Did you know that the word “Sneha” in Sanskrit means “to oil” and “to love”?! Thus, historically and linguistically speaking, not only is oiling considered essential for optimal well-being but it is also an act of love and care. Perhaps this is why baby oil massages help us bond with our newborns so well.
The tradition of baby oil massages is over 4000 years old and still going strong! While the earliest trace of baby massages is found in China in 2700 BC, it is the Indian Ayurvedic texts that record this practice in written form for the first time! Some even claim that this practice could have existed from 3000 BC.
The long history behind baby massages demonstrates a pattern of love, strength, and nourishment passed on from one generation to the other - for thousands of years now. It is more than just a custom! Baby Massage is a proven way to bond with your babies, promote their muscle growth, and make them feel warm and loved.
Our Grandmothers’ Love For Baby Oil
Baby oil massages in the ancient historical sense might sound pretty mythical and important. But the main carriers of this tradition are personal bonds built by love! These bonds have been passed down in all our families, generation to generation, from one mother to another. Today, baby massage is not something one does because it's “beneficial” or “has a long history”. We do baby massage because it reminds us of our grandmothers’ words and wisdom. We do it because we remember their magical touch and tales from our childhood.
Our grandmothers always know best, and the overarching trend around the world to go back to organic roots and promote one’s well-being is simply proof of that. We now know that Nani’s tales had scientific backing along with the sentiments she carried.
Our grandmothers are firm believers of baby massage because they have seen it work. When the world didn’t have fancy pharmaceuticals and perfumed products for self-care and beauty - there existed the mystical usage of natural oils and herbs. Our Nanis and Dadis have grown up with nature. That’s why they know best.
When it comes to giving your newborn the best possible love and care, your Nani probably has much more valuable wisdom than we could. But hey, we here at Blue Nectar try to come as close as possible with our bottled organic products.
Benefits of baby oil massage
So far, we have discussed the tales and lore around baby oil massage from the Indian Ayurvedic perspective. In this section we try to elaborate in detail what exactly the benefits of baby massage are, all according to our traditional medicine systems and our Nani Wale Lessons. Let’s get to it!
Baby oil massages help in muscle and bone growth.
The art of baby massage is a great way to promote the growth of your baby. Wondering how that works? It’s pretty simple! The gentle movements and pressure of massage enabled by baby oil improve blood circulation in the baby’s body and clear any knots. When blood circulation improves, all body parts get enriched with sufficient nutrients and proteins. This leads to stronger muscles, bones, and faster growth in babies.
Massaging your baby helps you make a warm bond.
The magic of touch isn’t just warm in the psychological sense: when we hug or come in close contact with our loved ones, our body produces a hormone called “oxytocin”. Often known as the “love hormone”, this chemical makes your baby feel loved by you! Therefore, the act of “Sneha” scientifically helps you develop a loving and feel-good bond with your newborn. The language of touch and your speech during baby massage can help your baby recognize you better too!
It takes care of your baby’s skin.
Baby skin can be quite dry and sensitive. Baby oil fixes this problem by not just moisturizing, but also keeping your newborn a moisture barrier away from external dirt that may cause rashes or itching.
Baby oil massages help your babies get better sleep.
According to Ayurveda, baby massage relieves the Vata Dosha and reduces stress in babies. Yep. Your babies can get anxious too if you don’t seem present enough! Stress releases a hormone called “cortisol”, which can make it harder for the newborn to get proper sleep. Baby Massages help your baby de-stress and feel loved. With stress and basic anxiety gone away, your newborns can sleep much better.
Massages improve your baby’s digestion.
Did you know that newborns have an underdeveloped esophagus, which makes it harder for them to burp when they have built up gas? This can cause a lot of discomfort to a newborn. Though newborns are frequently fed and don’t always have a gas problem, baby massage ensures that it never gets uncomfortable for them. During a massage, you put pressure on the babies’ stomach, allowing their digestive processes to function smoothly. Further, the vagus nerve, which connects the brain to important regions of the body, including the stomach, is stimulated by massage. Stimulating this nerve can help your infant improve digestion and bowel movement.
Baby oil massages help in weight gain and better health.
Weight gain and better health are secondary effects of all the other benefits of baby massage. Because baby oil massages help in better blood circulation, digestion, and sleep - your baby can grow and absorb nutrition well. This leads to healthy weight gain.
Baby Oil Massage Procedure
Now that you know the main benefits of baby massage, all there’s left to do is master its technique! Lucky for you, the procedure to massage your baby appropriately has been laid down for us. Just follow these steps and you’ll be good!
1. Before starting, it's important to create a calm and comfortable environment for your baby. Remember that massaging your baby isn’t just something you do on your own - it's a mutual interaction between your newborn and you. Make sure your baby is neither too hungry nor too full, and the room temperature is pleasant. Look into your baby’s eyes and let them know you’re here for them. Smiling and talking to them are also encouraged.
2. Put some baby oil directly on your palm. Then, rub your palms together to warm the baby oil. This is an important step. Warming up the oil will activate the natural ingredients in your baby oil and make it ready to absorb into your skin. If you skip this step, the process of oil massage could become a little messy.
3. Start with your cute little baby’s feet and legs. Use firm but gentle motions to rub the oil on your baby’s legs. Hold the baby’s heel and gently massage the oil onto their thighs and calves in little squeezing motions. This is to be done in two ways: from top to bottom and then from bottom to top. This ensures appropriate blood circulation to your baby’s limbs.
4. The baby’s feet and toes come next. Pay attention to the sole of the feet and squeeze it while massaging. Toes should be curled and uncurled to release any tension.
5. Next, massage your baby's hands and arms. This is done quite similarly to how you would massage their legs. In the end, gently pull at your baby’s finger to ensure the release of pent-up tension.
6. The torso and back are paid attention to next. Lay your baby flat on their back and maintain eye contact. Spread oil on their chest in circular motions over their chest and stomach. Think of it as flattening a book’s pages. Flip them over after a while and do the same for their back for a few minutes.
7. Finally, head massage is an important part of baby massage. Put some oil on your newborn’s cute head and gently massage it with little circular motions. Use only your fingertips and avoid pressing too much, as it may lead to a headache.
8. Make sure your baby is enjoying the massage. If they seem uncomfortable or are crying too much, try to figure out what’s going wrong and soothe your baby. Never neglect your baby’s response to a massage: it is a time to bond for both the mother and child. The child’s needs are not less important than the act of massaging itself.
Synthetic Baby Massage Oil vs Natural Baby Massage oil
The baby massage oil market has both synthetic and natural oils. While synthetic oils are cheaper, most masseuses themselves are moving away from their use and prefer organic oils.
When it comes to baby massage, synthetic oils are a strict and big fat NO. It is important to choose an appropriate baby massage oil for your newborn and not just any oil you see lying around. Baby skin is sensitive and dry. Using oils such as petroleum jelly can create a thick barrier on your baby’s skin and prevent it from breathing. It can be suffocating and heat-provoking for the baby.
Baby Massages are supposed to be soothing and gentle. Synthetic oils may contain artificial fragrances that can cause allergic reactions to your baby’s skin and make baby massage an absolute nightmare for your little one.
Hence, it is important to choose appropriate natural oils for a baby massage that have not been contaminated by preservatives and chemicals. Ayurvedic massage oils are the best choice for babies. Among Ayurvedic oils, sesame oil concocted with some essential herbs is the most popular and esteemed choice.
Best Baby oils as per concern
Alright, you got done with reading the benefits of a baby massage from an Indian and scientific perspective. But now, the dilemma of choice comes up! What kind of natural oil would be best for your baby? Olive oil? Sesame oil? Almond oil? How do you decide out of all these options?
Fret not, because we have done all the research for you. Highlighted below are common natural oils used for baby massage, along with their key benefits. This can help you understand what baby oil is best for what kind of concern.
Without further ado, here is our list of best baby oils as per concerns:
Sesame Oil for Muscle & Bone Growth
Sesame oil or Til Ka Tel is the ultimate favorite oil in Ayurvedic traditions. Face serums, body oils, concoctions - sesame has its presence all over Ayurvedic formulations.
When it comes to baby massage, rarely will you come across any oil that is better for a baby than sesame. It has a fast-absorbing texture that moisturizes baby skin without clogging it. Further, it has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties which help it fight any kind of infections on baby skin. This is thanks to the presence of linoleic acid in sesame oil.
But the key benefit of sesame oil is in its aid to your newborn’s bone growth and muscle strength. Sesame is highly nutritious and contains ingredients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc. When these minerals absorb into your baby’s skin, a strong barrier is created.
The movement involved in baby massage improves your newborn’s blood circulation and magnifies the absorption of all the minerals in sesame. This, in turn, leads to strengthening bones and muscles.
Because sesame oil is edible and absorbable, it is perfect for babies. The best season to use it is winter, as it is warm by nature.
Coconut Oil for Soothing Rashes and Moisturizing
Coconut oil is another favorite when it comes to Ayurvedic concoctions. It is thick, cooling, moisturizing, and anti-bacterial. Most regions in India receive pretty harsh summers. This can cause discomfort for your newborn.
Coconut oil comes to the rescue here as it is naturally hydrating and cooling. After all, it comes from coconut fruit. As a baby oil, it can effectively heal rashes on your baby’s skin caused by the heat and sweat of summers. Its highly-emollient nature soothes all rashes quickly and makes way for smooth and silky skin.
It is, however, important to be careful with coconut oil for baby massage. Make sure you get it from a trusted brand that does not add preservatives and chemicals to it. Choosing coconut oil specifically designed for babies is best. Coconut oil can also at times be too thick and cooling, aggravating the Vata dosha in babies. Therefore, it is good to avoid using coconut oil during winter. Instead, use sesame oil, which is naturally warmer.
Ghee for Bonding and Weight Gain
Wouldn’t you agree? Ghee is an important part of Indian heritage. While other oils are also very important, ghee shines because it is derived from cow’s milk. It is customary for many Indians to worship cows, which is why ghee holds a special place in many people’s hearts.
The use of ghee doesn’t limit itself to the kitchen. It also makes for a great baby massage oil. Using ghee for baby massage will give you a special homely feel, helping you bond with your baby in optimal ways.
Coming to the technical benefits of ghee as baby oil, the list is endless. Since ghee is a dairy product, it is extremely nutritious. It is high in calcium and vitamins such as K2, A, E, and D. All these nutrients help create a good and foolproof barrier on your baby’s skin. Just like milk, ghee is also high in protein.
All these properties of ghee combined with massage enable better nutrient absorption by your baby’s muscles and bones. This leads to increased growth, development, and ultimately healthy weight gain.
You can try Blue Nectar’s baby massage oil with ghee to help you get started.
Almond & Chamomile Oil for better sleep
Almond oil is known for its silky texture and sweet smell. Chamomile oil is known for its property of a mesmerizing smell and calming aura. When you mix the two - you find yourself a concoction that is perfect to release all the tension and stress in your newborn’s muscles.
Has your baby been crying a lot at night? Does he/she have trouble sleeping? Try almond oil concocted with chamomile oil and see great results.
Chamomile is known to be a great treatment for treating insomnia. It is available in pure essential oil forms on the market. But these essential oils are always recommended to be diluted before use. This is where the silky almond oil comes in for help. This concoction is not just good for bettering sleep, but also soothing skin irritation and rashes.
Baby oil massages are a custom, tradition, and act of Sneha that has existed for thousands of years. And for all these thousands of years, it has nourished and pampered mother-child relations for healthy well-being. The benefits of baby oil massages are endless - whether we speak of increased muscle strength, bone health, blood circulation, emotional bonding, or better sleep.
Needless to say, once again, our Nanis and Dadis prove to know best. Taking their lessons and applying the benefits of baby oils in our lives can enable us to make the best environment for our newborns. We hope this blog helped you learn everything you wished to know about baby oil massage and its importance.
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