7 Myths Of Massaging Babies

It as a common practice in certain countries to regularly massage infants, and some cultures even encourage the massaging of newborn babies as soon as they are introduced into the world. However, due to the widespread nature of this practice, a lot of information spread around and well-known regarding baby massages have become questionable and are more myth than fact.

Massage For Baby

Here are 7 common baby massage myths, and the truth behind them.

1. Massages have no benefits.

Opinions are divided about the usefulness of massages, but in general, they do provide some benefits for babies. They can help stimulate growth and enhance the circulation of blood, oxygen, and nutrients for better nourishment. In addition, the act of massaging can strengthen the immune system and provide relief from some of the growing pains a baby might face, and it can even aid in the reduction of nose and chest congestion. Regular massages can even make a baby become more flexible and grow up to have better coordination. Best of all, babies sleep much more easily and soundly after a massage!

But it isn't just physical health that is improved through a massage. Babies can form closer bonds with their mother, fathers, or caretakers who massage them. It also helps parents take time off from their busy days to spend some quality time with their children while getting some much needed relaxation in the process. In addition, some say that the act of massaging your baby can improve your own self-esteem and confidence.

2. There’s no difference in the benefits of a normal massage and an oil massage.

This is definitely not true! Oils can help moisturize and soften skin, and a study published in “Infant Behavior and Development” proved that babies actually prefer being massaged with lubricants as opposed to just with bare hands. The oil can also have soothing properties that help both the child and the person massaging him to relax, providing dual benefits for parent and child. However, not all babies can be massaged with oils and some may have negative reactions to it, so it is important to be aware of your child’s allergies and reactions to different substances before investing time, money and effort into products and routines that may just endanger your baby.

Massage For Baby

3. Newborn babies must be massaged.

A baby who has just been born has incredibly sensitive skin that is only half as thick as an adult’s, and the use of medications and oils may be too strong for the infant to handle. Some of these oils might even enter into the body through absorption and circulate throughout the baby’s body, leading to health problems and infections. The combined factors of the immaturity of an infant’s body and the use of a massage that aids circulation will only help infection spread faster. It’s recommended that if you really must massage your baby, you do it once they've reached three months of age and not a moment sooner.

4. Babies should be massaged daily for optimum health.

It is often believed that without daily massages, a baby’s blood circulation and bone strength won’t reach optimum levels. But the fact is that an infant will receive just as many benefits from infrequent massages done well as he will from daily massages that are only mediocre. Without the proper knowledge, daily massages can have little to no effect on a child you have to be aware of how to do it properly.

5. Oil can be used liberally all over a baby’s body.

Certain cultures encourage the use of various oils on all surfaces, but there are some areas that should be avoided. Placing oil in the nose and ears can be harmful and lead to fungal infection if the baby is more sensitive to them. There are even some cultures that place oils or certain forms of massage products in a baby’s eyes this is to be avoided at all costs, especially due to the carbon content of many oils. Using a lot of oil in a baby’s navel is also believed by most doctors to be unhygienic and should be avoided.

Massage For Baby

6. It is normal for babies to cry during a massage.

If a baby starts bawling his eyes out while you’re massaging him, he's telling you that he really isn't enjoying it. Massages should not cause discomfort, but ease it, so it may be time to stop or change the way you’re using your hands if your child starts to cry while you massage him. A too rough massage can be painful and injure your baby if you aren't careful. The trick is to be gentle, but firm. Remember that your baby’s bones and muscles are still very soft and need time to develop, so what feels nice and gentle to you may be hard and painful for an infant!

7. Massaging with certain scrubs can make a baby’s skin fairer.

No homemade or store bought scrub will ever lighten a baby’s skin. The color of skin is genetic and cannot be changed by products it’s impossible to alter someone’s DNA just by scrubbing or massaging! It’s much safer to opt out of using scrubs at all, as they can be harsh and rough on a baby’s skin and cause dryness and irritation. On a more important note, society might have taught many that fairness is equivalent to beauty, but these stereotypes perpetuated by the media are far from true. Regardless of fairness, your baby’s skin color is beautiful exactly as it is, and any energy being used to change their skin tone is better used teaching a child to love themselves!

With any luck, these facts have helped set the record safe about massaging babies. At the end of the day, it is up to you whether or not you massage your child and as long as you do it safely and your baby is happy and healthy, massages have many benefits and can work wonders.

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