Infant Massage

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Overview

Many caregivers use infant massage to relax and promote the emotional bond with their baby. It can help relax your baby, prevent crying, and soothe and comfort your crying baby. Many hospitals and child care centers provide classes on infant massage.

Massage methods vary, but general recommendations stress finding the appropriate setting and using appropriate techniques.

  • Find a time when you are relaxed and won't be interrupted.

    Be sure the baby is neither full nor hungry.

  • Find a comfortable location and position.

    The room should be warm. Lay the baby on his or her back on a towel on a bed, the floor, or your lap.

  • Try using a warm (not hot) natural oil such as vegetable or olive oil.

    Some parents find it useful to rub a little oil over the baby's body. Move your palms in clockwise, rhythmic circles on the baby's abdomen. Use only light pressure.

  • Be sensitive to your baby.

    A newborn may enjoy only 2 to 5 minutes of massage.

  • Do not massage a sick or feverish child.

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Current as of: February 28, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.