Birthowl’s natural childbirth

Massage Message
December 27, 2007, 7:00 pm
Filed under: baby care, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

Baby Massage

Massaging a newborn is one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling activities you can participate in. As parents, we long to touch our newborns from the moment of their births. We want to go over every finger, every limb, marveling at the wonder “we’ve” created. Massage gives us the opportunity to do this, while being very nice for the baby, as well.

A wonderful massage you can do from the very first day your baby is born is a castor oil massage. A time-honored East Indian tradition reputed to reduce the heat in the baby’s system caused by the friction of birth, it also makes the baby’s skin lovely and soft, even on wrinkly feet. Buy castor oil from a local health food store and try to get ‘cold-pressed’ if you can.

In preparation for the massage, make sure your room is nice and warm. Lay a towel on the bed or the floor and lay a receiving blanket over it to make a nice, soft place for the baby to lie. You may also want to place a sheet of plastic beneath the towel in case the baby pees while you are in the middle of the massage. Have another blanket or two close by to cover the parts of the baby you are not massaging to keep the baby warm. If it is the middle of summer, or you are in a very hot room, this may not be necessary.

Warm your hand by rubbing them together, or running them under hot water. Undress your baby and lay her face up on the towel. Pour about a tablespoon of oil into your palms and rub them them together to warm the oil.

Beginning with the chest area, slowly ang gently rub the oil onto the baby, starting from the center and moving down to the sides. You will notice the oil is very sticky. Rub the oil onto the baby very slowly so you don’t pull the skin, adding more oil to keep your hands well lubricated.

After the chest, move to the abdomen and rub in small circles, clockwise in the direction th large intestines move. If your baby has not had a first bowel movement, expelling the sticky, brownish black meconium that filled the intestines in utero, don’t be surprised if the castor oil massage stimulates this expulsion.

After the abdomen, move to the legs. GEntly massage from the feet toward the hips, which helps to return the blood from the legs to the heart, and then massage the feet themkselves.

Rubbing in little circles in the center of the feet and on the heel for the accupressure points for the colon can also help to stimulate the expulsion of the meconium. From the feet move to the arms and massage from the wrists to the shoulders, and then the hands, gently rubbing the palm to stimulate the colon.

Next carefully roll the baby over and massage the back, stroking from the center out to the sides. Rub up in around the neck and down all over the buttocks. Last, roll the baby back over and massage the face and head. It is fine to get the oil in the baby’s hair and ears, just remember to be careful with the soft spot on the top of the baby,s head where the bones have not yet closed.

After you are done, wrap the baby in a receiving blanket, and another warm blanket and, if it is at all cold, put a hat on the baby’s head. The baby will seem very sticky for about twelve hours until all the castor oil has been absorbed. Then you will noticethat any dry skin is gone, and that everything, including the hair, is soft and silky.

You can give your baby a castor oil bath as often as you like, even every day is not too frequently, as they never seem to outgrow their love of massage.

[From ‘Choosing Waterbirth, reclaiming the sacred power of birth’ – by Lakshmi Bertram; Photo by Valentina Powers]


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