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Touch and massage can really help you bond with your baby, along with several other important developmental benefits.

Touch: Our First Language

In many ways, touch is our first language. Gentle and loving touch can help small babies grow stronger and feel less anxiety. Infants who are touched display more eye contact, smiles and vocalizations. In many hospitals and birth centers, newborns are placed on the mother's chest or abdomen to give them as much skin-to-skin contact as possible. The touch between you and your baby brings you emotionally close – a process known as bonding or attachment.

Baby Massage

Massage is a wonderful way to help strengthen your bond. This is the key to a child’s development, as many researchers and clinicians feel that a positive maternal child bond helps to form the basis for future relationships.

In addition to helping you and your baby bond, regular baby massage may:

  • Soothe baby and reduce crying
  • Aid digestion and help relieve colic, gas and constipation
  • Help baby sleep more deeply and longer
  • Relieve nasal congestion and teething discomfort
  • Help develop good muscle tone, coordination, and suppleness
  • Enhance body awareness
  • Boost the immune system
  • Improve skin texture
  • Help calm and relax both parent and baby
  • Boost parents’ confidence in handling baby

Ready to start? Learn the proper techniques of baby massage by watching this video.

NOTE: Don't massage your baby if he's sick or if he's just been immunized — the area of the injection may still be sore

Baby Massage Techniques & Tips
Tip 1 Choose a time when your baby is awake and alert, not too hungry or too full
Tip 2 Ensure the room is warm and lighting not too bright
Tip 3 Have what you need ready: oil, towel, clean diapers and clothes
Tip 4 Wash your hands and remove jewelry
Tip 5 Use a safe and comfortable place to do the massage and position your baby so that he can see your face clearly
Tip 6 Before starting, take time to relax with a few full breaths — this can help your baby relax too
Tip 7 Babies are different, changing all the time. For instance, young babies may feel more secure if most of their clothes are left on and they feel close to their parents’ body

Use a small amount of an appropriately formulated oil or lotion, like JOHNSON’S® baby oil. Use a small amount on your own hands — enough for your hands to glide comfortably over your baby’s skin.

It’s best not to apply oil or lotion to irritated or red skin. If a rash develops, discontinue use. Always read the label before using any products.

REMEMBER: Keep all products out of reach of children. Keep any baby oil out of children’s reach to avoid drinking and accidental inhalation, which can cause serious injury. Should breathing problems occur, consult a doctor or other healthcare professional immediately.

Through baby massage, you can gain increased awareness of how your baby communicates. You'll learn to read his likes, dislikes, desires and emotions. You'll learn the best time for cuddling, playing and relaxing. And your relationship will grow as you and your baby will discover what is best for you both.

Baby Massage Guide

Learn how best to massage your baby as he grows :

Bonding Through Massage

Show him just how loving your touch can be

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BabyCenter® shares how the love between you and your baby develops as he grows.

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