Baby massage is a wonderful way to spend some quality bonding time with your baby and also provides you with useful parenting tools to soothe and calm your baby as well a helping with some common issues such as colic, constipation and wind. However, choosing a massage oil can be confusing. Here is a useful guide to help you decide.
Should I use Oil when Massaging my Baby?
If your baby is over 4 weeks old, then using oil when massaging them can be useful as it helps your hands to move more smoothly over the skin and to give a deeper, more relaxing massage to your baby. However, you don’t have to use massage oil if you or your baby don’t want to and you can even massage over clothes if you prefer.
Although it is safe and beneficial to your baby to be massaged from birth, you should not use massage oil until they are at least 4 weeks old.
What Massage Oil Should I Use?
It is recommended that you use a natural, edible, cold pressed vegetable oil to massage your baby. The oil needs to be food grade as babies often put their hands (or feet!) in their mouths so the oil needs to be safe to eat and cold-pressed oils are made using a process which means the oil will have fewer impurities. The research on individual oils for use specifically in infant massage is limited, however, fractionated coconut oil or grapeseed oil can be good options.
Whichever oil you choose, it is important to patch test before you use it, to make sure that your baby is not allergic to it. You can do this by putting a very small drop of the oil on the inside of baby’s wrist and waiting to see if there is a reaction within 24 hours.
Are There any Oils to Avoid?
Yes, aromatherapy massage oils are not suitable for babies. Using an unscented oil is best as this will not interfere with the exchange of parent and baby smell imprinting which is particularly important for bonding. and there is some evidence that shows mustard oil, olive oil and sunflower oil can be damaging to baby’s delicate skin so these are best avoided.
To find out more about the benefits of baby massage please see my blog post on why do baby massage. For more information on our baby massage courses, please see the baby massage page on our website.