Boy, it must be nice to be a baby! Eat, sleep, poop, and get massaged.. ah the life! When we were young our mom used to give us “malish” every day before bed and she has stressed over and over again that we should be doing the same for our kids. The benefits for massaging babies has been documented everywhere so we’re not going to go into too much detail but it’s good to know the general idea behind it. We’re also sharing how we give the babies malish and the products we use. Keep reading for more!
Massaging babies has been a common ritual in India for decades. The idea behind them is that they help to soothe babies, improve their circulation, and enhance their bond with their parents. For our kids, we always do malish as part of their nighttime routine so that it helps put them at ease. We do large strokes on their legs and arms and massage their heads too. All of the kids love it and definitely seem more calm during and after their massage. In terms of helping their circulation, we stretch the kids’ arms and legs, do bicycles to help alleviate any gas, and stroke their belly (clockwise) to help their digestive tract. It also gives the kids some diaper free time which is always good to air them out! The 20 minutes we spend giving the kids malish are so special between mommy/daddy and baby – it is uninterrupted happy time where you can talk or sing to baby, tell them about your day, or simply just stare at those innocent little eyes and baby is all ears!
How to Malish
We all use almond oil for massages (you can use any kid friendly oil – olive, coconut, etc). Since baby skin tends to be dry to begin with, we try to leave it on, but in the summer we usually will give them a quick rinse afterwards to cool them off. We use the oil all over including their head/hair, body, feet, hands, and a little bit on their faces – which their faces we will usually wipe the oil off after the 20 – 30 minute malish.
The way we learned to malish was we start with their legs, first rubbing oil into them then massaging from toes to thighs with little pressure. We then do some exercises like toes to head, cross legs, and hip circles. Then we move on to their chest and belly – always rubbing in a clockwise motion as to go in the same direction as their digestive system. For their arms we again rub from hand to shoulder – always leading each stroke toward their hearts. Then we do a few exercises like cross body arms, move them in large circles, and up and down. For their heads and face we apply oil to their heads generously and rub it in with our fingertips gently. For their faces we apply very little oil and rub it in with very little to no pressure. Then we flip them over and cover their backs – big strokes from butt to shoulders with little pressure as we don’t want to put too much weight on their little tummies!
As we mentioned, we use almond oil and coconut oil for their massages on bathing days. Every other day we used baby lotion. With the boys and girls we always ran the risk of them peeing during their diaper free time so Nina introduced us to the genius idea of using yoga mats under the babies (with a muslin cloth on top) so we didn’t ruin our carpet/floor. Our older ones think of this as a treat and still enjoy malish time… Do you have any advice on baby massaging… share your thoughts with us!