Massaging a baby is mostly considered a healthy practice by health professions as it has a variety of benefits to both the baby and the mother. This should be done as soon as the baby is born, and for most parents, knowing the best types of baby massage oils and other important information such as when to introduce the massage oil may be quite challenging. It is worth noting that a massage that involves the entire body starting from the baby’s head and neck to the trunk and extremities, is essential for the baby’s health.
Benefits of an oil massage for your baby
There are several physical and emotional benefits associated with massaging your baby using the right oils and in the right way. Not only do you bond with your baby as he feels loved and cared for, but there are also other proven benefits such as:
- Promoting healthy growth, including mental and social development.
- The relaxation that makes your baby less anxious, less fussy, and improves her sleep.
- It helps to stimulate your baby’s blood circulatory and overall functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, thus, eliminating the conditions of gas, constipation, colic, and cramps.
- Relieve muscular tension, abdominal pains, and teething discomforts. The baby will also respond calmly in a stressful or painful situation when massaged.
- In premature or underweight babies, it helps to stimulate the growth hormones, thereby resulting in weight gain, alertness, and better sleep.
- The above benefits of massaging will also make you feel more empowered as a parent and relaxed.
How to Choose the Right Baby Massage Oil?
Deciding the right type of oil to use for massaging your baby may be slightly overwhelming, as there are many types available in the market. However, when choosing massaging oils for infants, it is important to keep in mind the following factors:
- Always dab a little oil on his wrist to see if he has any allergic reactions before using it for massaging your baby’s body.
- The oil using for massage should eliminate friction without harming the baby.
- The oil should be odorless or must have mild fragrance as they may overwhelm the baby resulting in allergic reactions.
- The best oil for baby massage should also be edible as it may get in the baby’s mouth. Since babies tend to place their tiny fingers in their mouths all the time, food-grade oils are the right choice as they’re safe even when your baby licks it off his skin.
- Baby’s massage oil should be diluted with a carrier oil before application. Essential oils are made from pure extracts of seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants.
- Avoid using mineral oils for massaging your baby.
- The baby massage oil should be light when intended for use in hot and humid weather to avoid clogging of the skin pores for trapping dust and dirt.
- The baby massage oil should not contain any chemicals.
- It should have moisturizing properties that immediately work when absorbed into the baby’s skin.
- The massage oil should be specifically formulated for baby use. This is because products that are made for adults’ skin use aren’t recommended for babies as they can harm their delicate and sensitive skin.
- When deciding which is the right oil, you should also consider your baby’s skin conditions. When in doubt or have concerns about your baby’s skin condition, it is important to consult a pediatrician to select the appropriate oil for your baby.
Which are the Best Baby Massage Oils?
Massaging oils are commonly used to nourish and help protect the baby’s soft skin. The widely used body massage oils are mineral and vegetable oils. However, the best oil for your baby is one that has no allergic reaction to your baby’s skin and his nose.
Mustard oil for baby massage has been used for a long time. It has the benefits of blood circulation, keeping the baby’s body warm by helping it retaining heat in winter months, improves the baby’s hair growth when massaged regularly on his scalp. Also, it works as a decongestant when heated with a few pods of garlic and applied to the baby’s chest. Mustard oil for babies is known for its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. It will, therefore, reduce your baby’s chances of having any skin infections, and due to its strong, pungent smell, it will keep mosquitoes and insects away from the baby.
Coconut oil for babies massage has diverse therapeutic properties and is mostly considered to be very healthy, especially for premature infants. Due to its molecular structure, coconut oil for baby skin can be easily absorbed by the skin, making it the preferred natural moisturizer in the tropical regions. Other benefits that make coconut oils best for baby massage include its ability to reduce cradle cap or dry scalp, eczema symptoms, dry and chapped lips, and diaper rash. Its fatty acids have potential insect repellent properties to keep away insects such as bed bugs, horn flies, and stable flies. Coconut oil may be used for teething massaging because of its anti-inflammatory properties. The best traditional way to use coconut massage oil is to thoroughly mix it with an equal part of extra virgin oil and gently massage your baby.
Sesame oil is considered as the best for baby massage due to its rich vitamins B complex, E, D, phosphorus, calcium, proteins, linoleic acid, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and antioxidant properties. Therefore, the sesame oil for baby massage has some lubricating, healing, and nourishing properties, which are essential for your baby’s health. Sesame oil is also edible, protects the baby’s heart, reduces cancer risks, provides vitamin K for proper blood clotting, and has a good source of unsaturated fats and supplies antioxidants. An allergic reaction of sesame oil for baby body massage is very rare; however, if the baby shows any reactions, you should change the oil.
The best almond oil for baby massage is the sweet almond oil, which can be applied before or after a bath. It has vitamins E and D, which are essential for the baby’s skin as it helps the skin stay healthy and supple. Almond oil is also light and non-greasy and can get absorbed by the skin easily. It has anti-inflammatory properties, and also acts as a natural moisturizer to prevent your baby’s skin from drying up, reduces itching and skin rashes, and also helps the baby’s hair growth when gently massaged to the scalp. Almond oil for baby skin is known for its ability to relax the baby’s muscle, promote blood circulation, reduce the chances of ingestion and remove gas when massaged to the tummy before feeding.
Extra virgin Olive oil (EVOO) is considered the best oil for baby massage on sensitive and dry skins. Olive oil for dry baby skin is best used when mixed thoroughly with an equal quantity of water or other oils. The massage should take preferably 15 to 20 minutes and then cleaned well with lukewarm water to avoid any residue rashes. Olive oil is packed with phenolic antioxidants, high oleic acids, anti-inflammatory, omega-3 fatty acids, low linoleic acids, and squalene. Using the oil to massage your baby regularly will result in healthy-strong bones and muscles. Other olive oil massage benefits for baby includes keeping your baby’s skin healthy, shiny, and smooth due to its moisturizing properties and facilitate regeneration of skin tissues, thereby, keeping the baby’s skin toned. However, if your baby has more permeable skin or has eczema, the oleic acids may make his skin more permeable to infections or increase moisture loss. On the other hand, the low linoleic acid strengthens your baby’s skin barrier.
The organic sunflower oil for baby massage is the most preferred choice when massaging a baby with sensitive or dry skin. The oil is odorless, has many vital vitamins, no harmful effects when ingested by the baby, low concentrations of oleic acid, and is also very rich in linoleum acid, which has a good antibacterial, regenerating restructuring, and moisturizing properties. In preterm babies, sunflower oil for baby skin is effective in enhancing the baby’s health and skin barrier functions. When the baby’s skin has patches of eczema, care should be taken when massaging the sunflower oil as the condition may get worse.
Chamomile oil for baby is most suitable for dry and sensitive skin that is prone to eczema. It can have a calming or soothing effect on the baby and, therefore, may help to cure anxiety, depression, colic (when used with lavender oil) and also ensure your baby gets a sound sleep. It is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for younger infants. The chamomile oil should be warmed a little by rubbing it between your hands and gently rub it into your baby’s skin.
Tea tree Oil
The tea tree oil has natural anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and disinfectant properties. Since it is an essential oil and has a diverse amount of chemicals, it is not recommended for babies younger than 6 months old and should also be carefully patch-tested on older babies. The tea tree oil has a high content of linoleic acid, which is excellent for your baby’s health.
Castor oil is well known for treating skin and health problems in babies. It contains unsaturated fatty acids in high amounts such as ricinoleic acid, which gives it the anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. It is a natural laxative to provide relief from colic. The oil can also help to relieve your baby’s skin and health problems such as dry skin, warts or blemishes, sore muscles, diaper rashes, and sunburn.
Calendula oil is also classified as an essential oil. It has a soothing and calming effect on your baby’s skin and has a mild smell that will not irritate your baby’s nose. The calendula oil is safe for babies of all ages since it is rich in multivitamins that relax the baby’s muscle and nourish his skin. Its soothing properties can assist in helping colic and fatigue.
FAQ’s on Baby Massage Oil
- When should I use baby massage oil?
Answer: Baby massage can start from day one, and massage oils are mostly recommended to be used from 8 weeks old. However, the baby’s abdomen should not be touched until her belly button is totally healed, and the massage should only be done when your baby is calm, alert, and content. The importance of the baby massage oils is they make massage easier for you and more relaxing for your baby.
- When should I stop massaging my baby?
Answer: You should stop massaging if your baby is ill, has a temperature, or recently had a vaccination. It is also not a good practice to massage the baby straight after a feed, when the baby is upset, or when hungry.
- Which is the best massage oil for babies for fair skin?
Answer: The best massage oil for your baby should be organic, since babies put their hands in their mouth most of the time, and should not have allergic effects to the baby’s skin (perform a patch test on her wrist before proceeding with the massage). Some popular best massage oils are sesame, olive, coconut, and almond oils.
- Can we use baby massage oil for hair?
Answer: Yes. The baby massage oil can be used for hair by gently applying on the baby’s scalp. Some baby massage oil, such as Almond oil, are very suitable for hair care. Virgin coconut oil has lauric acid that has a high affinity for hair protein and can easily penetrate the hair shaft and act as baby hair care.