Did you know – the Sanskrit word ‘sneha’ means both “oil” and “love” underlining the subliminal nourishing effect that oil massage has on our bodies, minds, and spirits. Ayurveda, the oldest living healing science in the world, says that a daily oil massage is perhaps the simplest and most loving gift you can give yourself – and your child. Massaging your newborn baby plays an important role in their overall development, read on to know more about the benefits.
Massaging your newborn baby
Oils of coconut, sesame, mustard and olive are preferred for baby massages. Ensure the oil you use is 100% plant-based and does not contain mineral oils or synthetic fragrances, as these are petroleum-based and contain toxic contaminants.
Herbal oils made according to ancient Ayurvedic recipes and by traditional methods of steeping, blending, extended simmering and boiling, etc are the best choice since, they not only hydrate the skin but also penetrate the ‘7 layers’ of skin to nourish bones and even organs; boosting brain development, eyesight, digestion etc.
Our own AYURVEDIC BABY MASSAGE OIL covers all the bases. It is a classical Ayurvedic formulation of a pure blend of extra-virgin unrefined coconut oil, (made from coconut milk and not ‘copra’) and the most prized herbs of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia) and Ushira (Vetiveria zizanioides prescribed in Ayurveda, for a growing baby.
- Ayurveda suggests massaging your new born baby after around 4 weeks of the birth, By this time the baby has gained strength, and the navel has healed.
- Massaging the new born baby can be done at any time of the day, but choose not to massage the baby immediately after a feed or when the baby is hungry or distressed. Many people like to massage their baby followed by a little early morning sun and thereafter the bath and some prefer right before bedtime to lull baby to sleep.
- Carry out massage in a warm, draught-free place, on the floor or a table, covered with a towel or blanket that can be washed easily.
- Warm some oil either on a stove or by placing in a bowl of hot water. Note: Microwave heating may destroy essential nutrients.
- The palms, rather than the fingertips, should be used to ensure gentle pressure is applied, and the touch should be very light.
- Oil your hands and gently begin by applying oil to your baby’s scalp. Continue with a rhythmic stroking down the limbs, and circle around joints. Massage abdomen in a large clockwise motion. Turn your baby onto its belly, and massage using long strokes down the back, and circular strokes on the buttocks.
- It is important to stop the massage if the baby is not enjoying it.
Massaging your newborn baby has immense benefits. Baby massage has been practiced in India for centuries, and is an integral part of every family’s routine, due to the immense physical benefits that come from the herbal Ayurvedic oil. Some of the health benefits of massaging your newborn baby include:
- nourishing the skin
- increasing the blood circulation
- draining toxins and improving immunity
- promoting sound sleep
- strengthening muscles and bones
- providing relief from wind, colic, constipation and teething discomfort
- aiding in digestion and bowel movements
Far outweighing even these physical benefits are the bountiful lifelong emotional benefits that come from the experience of ‘touch’ – of making the baby feel securely attached, more loved, valued and respected. Research reveals that infants who experience routine touch show 50% more eye contact and are 3 times more likely to have an overall positive expression than infants who do not.
And if all of this is not enough to convince you to make this beautiful loving ritual a part of your daily routine, know this – massage activates important bonding hormones between mama and baby, promoting happiness, love and positivity in you (making you less inclined to post-natal depression)!
These little moments of love will create a bond with your baby that is going to last a lifetime. No wonder then the word sneh is used for love and oil! Do remember, a massage is always done “with” and not “to” your baby. And ofcourse, as a parent, be sure not to neglect your own health – don’t forget your own daily ABHYANGA massage!
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