Hi, I’m Antonette Golikidis, infant skin + baby massage expert at b.box body, here to share the many positive benefits of baby massage; as well as the common differences between using body lotions + body oils for your at-home baby massage ritual.
baby skin care: lotion vs. oil, which to use when
Whether you decide to buy a lotion vs an oil, or both together; I am here today to give you a breakdown of their unique textures + explain which ones are best to use for your baby’s delicate skin.
But before we get into the nitty gritty of deciding which products to connect calmly, blissfully, and soothingly with your bubs, let’s review why baby massage is commonly known to be essential to a baby’s overall growth and development, and how it can boost our baby’s overall wellbeing.
why baby massage is important
Touch is commonly known to be one of the most essential elements to your baby's overall emotional, mental, and psychological development. Babies need and desire touch, just as much as they require food to eat or the air to breathe. Even more than food, warmth, and shelter - babies need touch to develop their nervous systems properly.
Following on from touch, lies bonding. In holding, touching, and massaging your baby - you are not only gifting them with a loving mother/baby connection, but with a great feeling of safeness. Bonding may take time but by massaging your baby, you will most probably ignite the spark and enhance the bonding process.
After bonding - a sense of attachment commonly develops between mum and bub, and the magic begins. By massaging your baby more regularly, bubs may have more of an opportunity to connect and develop a sense of trust in you, their mother. This creates even more bonding to occur, and attachment may be reached.
Let’s not forget that bonding and attachment are also commonly known to be beneficial: for a new mama to mentally heal after birth. After all, motherhood for some, can be such a tough, demanding journey, with sleep deprivation clouding your thoughts, the challenges of first-time breastfeeding, and constantly trying to do the right thing by your baby, leaving very little time, rest, or self-care for yourself.
Eye contact is commonly known to help mama and baby to recognise each other and may fuel unspoken communication. But it may also have the power to connect you both to a natural, first-time bonding experience. They say that the eyes are a window to the soul, and since we physically birth our babies ourselves, there is a natural connection that is bound to occur between the eyes of a mama and her new baby!
The relaxed and regenerative energy that massage produces is commonly known to calm and reduce stress in both a parent and baby. When under stress, our bodies are known to naturally produce cortisol, a hormone which raises our blood pressure, increases our heart rate, and prepare muscles for movement when the body is under threat.
In other words, the physical benefit of massage may be a great way to combat stress in you and your baby - by producing a hormone called ‘oxytocin’ - the ‘feel-good hormone’. Oxytocin is commonly known to help lower stress in the body, giving mama and baby the space to bond and attach, while hopefully immersing themselves in a state of relaxation!
stimulation and development
Stimulation and development of the brain are commonly known to be one of the strongest factors on why baby massage is so beneficial. It may stimulate your baby to discover their senses, and power up their brain signals more efficiently too!
Now that you are clear about the benefits of baby massage, let’s deep dive into the world of lotions and oils: and review what they’re made of; when + how to use them; and why they can boost hydration in your baby’s skin.
choosing the right lotion or oil
When it comes to choosing the right skin care to protect + nourish your baby’s skin, it helps to be clear + realistic about their skin type and to know what kind of texture your product contains to match your baby’s skin care needs.
For example, some products may have heavier textures than others; or even carry different ratios of water vs oil – that may not even ‘scratch the surface’ or be the best option for what your baby’s requires – especially if you start noticing skin problems like chronic dry skin, rash, or cradle cap.
On top of this – some oils may contain hidden nasties that may irritate your baby’s skin. This means your skin care choices may need to be chosen beyond their beautiful scent: to provide more of a barrier for bub’s dry, flaky, chapped, or angry skin. So, it’s most likely then, that you are looking for skin care that is chemical -free, and that provides deep hydration + overall coverage to soothe baby’s highly sensitive skin issues.
baby lotion: an introduction
common ingredients in baby lotion
Baby lotion is commonly used daily after bathing to moisturise your baby’s skin. It contains ingredients such as oils, water + glycerin to help your newborn’s skin stay hydrated. And the good news is? Our baby lotion doesn’t contain any of the nasties, such as alcohol, artificial fragrances, dyes, parabens, or phthalates that may cause irritation.
pros of baby lotion
- easy to apply directly on the skin
- can commonly be used daily
- usually infused with calming, soothing smells such as lavender
cons in baby lotion
- read your labels closely: as some lotions may contain irritating ingredients: such as alcohol or fragrances that could cause a flare up on baby’s skin
- it commonly runs out more quickly than baby oil does: due to its thinner consistency
what lotion can I use to massage baby?
A quality lotion infused with the right botanicals + essential oils is known as a great starting point. And of course, at b.box we’ve got you covered, with our gorgeous plant-based hydrate lotion.
Skin commonly needs hydration + lots of nourishment. For top-to-toe smoothness b.box body hydrate moisturising lotion is packed with the natural botanical goodness of aloe vera, jojoba oil + shea butter to replenish moisture and repair your baby’s skin sensitivities. Free from nasties, hydrate is plant-based, vegan-friendly and dermatologically tested with nutrient-rich Kakadu plum and green tea extract – that may leave your baby’s skin feeling soft and looking radiant + aromatic essentials oils of calendula + chamomile to calm the skin, soothe irritation + smell amazing!
Massage hydrate gently and slowly into skin for good absorption without any white ghosting: leaving baby feeling perfectly moisturised! Ideal for baby massage.
Here’s a bit of detail about hydrate’s key ingredients:
- known to nourish, protect + heal the skin for optimal rejuvenation
- soothing for mum after a long day out with the kids!
- extremely moisturising + hydrating
- helps to keep skin soft and smooth for pregnancy, for bubs + for the whole family.
Check out hydrate here
oil: an introduction
common ingredients in baby oil
Baby oil is often used for baby massage, and is commonly known as an emollient. It is known to lock moisture into human skin, by creating a barrier on the surface of your skin to protect it from water loss. It can often be found in moisturisers: in the form of Jojoba oil or Almond oil – as they are known to mimic our natural lipids: the fatty substances found inside our skin that makes it feel smoothe. So, using body oil is known to be ideal for restoring + improving the surface of your baby’s skin.
pros of baby oil
- known to work best on slightly dampened skin, so ideal after bath time
- multiple uses: to remove cradle cap, soften skin in bath or for baby massage
- commonly has a handful of easy-to-name ingredients
- known to lock in moisture quickly + effectively, without greasiness
- known to provide baby’s skin with deep restorative hydration
cons of baby oil
- ideally used after baby is 1 month old, as oil does not absorb as well on newborn skin
- it can clog pores if overused, or if used on very oily skin. this isn’t usually an issue if used sparingly and for dry skin concerns.
which oil can I use to massage baby?
A quality oil infused with the right botanicals is a great starting point for DIY baby massage, with our skin-loving nourish oil formulated with plant-friendly + cruelty-free skin nurturing goodness.
b.box body nourish bath + massage oil may help improve a baby’s skin’s elasticity by softening, nourishing, and reconditioning their delicate skin. Enriched with a deeply hydrating + moisture intensive carrier oil base, our aromatic nourish bath + massage oil may not only gently leave your baby’s skin feeling hydrated, silky smooth and smelling beautiful, but it is made from botanical elements of coconut, sunflower + jojoba to commonly hydrate and replenish their skin’s natural barrier. This includes the essential oils of mandarin + chamomile that may offer nourishing properties to sensitive skins prone to dryness or irritation.
To use, simply massage nourish into your baby’s skin for a relaxing + hydrating experience, and for an extra nourishing boost.
Here’s a bit of detail about nourish’s key ingredients:
- may help smooth skin + works as an antioxidant
- made of natural extracts
- through a tiny chemical process, commonly separates the oily liquid so that a ‘pure’ version of it can be added to our skin care.
- commonly known for its soothing + skin softening benefits
- non-irritating, and boosts anti-inflammatory + antibacterial properties
- a great ingredient to commonly soothe sensitive skin.
- may decrease inflammation, replenishing the skin’s barrier + improving hair loss
- contains significant quantities of Vitamin E.
Check out nourish here
finally ... are they safe to use?
Generally, body creams + oils are safe for most parents to use. However, there may be some exceptions.
Ingredients like dyes, fragrances, or alcohol, are commonly known to dry + irritate a baby’s skin, and potentially be a hazard to their sensitive skin issues. So, feel free to seek alternatives: such as chemical-free products that are plant-based + made of natural, nourishing properties – that are commonly known to support their sensitive skin issues.
And always remember: if your baby has sensitive skin + you aren’t sure which to use when? Test your product on baby’s skin by doing a patch test or get guidance from a dermatologist or other healthcare professional before using any skin care product on your baby.
At the end of the day, both oil + cream are known to serve the same basic purpose — of helping keep your baby’s skin hydrated. Choosing between one or the other simply comes down to your baby’s specific skin needs + your preferences.
by Antonette Golikidis
Award-winning skincare expert, mum, and formulations queen behind b.box body - the new all-natural, baby and family skincare collection from b.box. Antonette holds a Diploma in Health Science and Personal Care Formulation, and a Certificate IV in Aromatherapy + infant massage; and brings more than 15 years’ experience in cosmetic product development, alternative therapies, scent science and baby massage to the team. Her in-depth research and study of skin care and cosmetics ignited her passion for working with natural ingredients to create unique, quality products that not only smell delicious, but capture the therapeutic benefits of those ingredients.