Hi, I’m Antonette Golikidis, infant skin expert at b.box body, here to share the many positive aspects of baby massage; including pressure point massage or reflexology as it is commonly known. As an infant massage expert, I thought it would be fun to share an at-home DIY pressure point massage experience with you and your baby.
Being a new parent of a baby is all about the special moments - the times when it’s just you and your bub connecting calmly, blissfully, and soothingly. In fact, one of the easiest ways to connect with your little one is through baby massage.
But when bubs is really unsettled, showing symptoms of colic and wind – and no signs of contentment anytime soon - what’s a mum to do?
before we discuss these pressure points and learn how to apply light pressure to provide relief to your baby, let's review why massage is essential to a baby's overall growth and development, and how it can boost your baby's overall wellbeing.
bonding with your baby; at home DIY pressure-point massage
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 like this can take time after the fourth trimester, and many studies have shown that by massaging your baby, you are igniting the spark and enhancing a ritualistic baby bonding process.
After bonding - a sense of attachment commonly develops between parent 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. 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 parent 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!
DIY at-home baby massage focusing on pressure points
Speaking of baby massage, knowing about your baby’s massage pressure points may contain a host of benefits for bubs: helping calm and relieve tummy pain, opening the sinuses, or even bringing some relief to sore, achy gums.
Commonly speaking, pressure point massage or reflexology as it is commonly known, is a craft; but did you know that there are elements of this technique that we can apply at home for a DIY pressure point massage that may help to calm your baby?
This DIY massage technique involving different amounts of pressure to the feet, known to be connected to our body parts. It can commonly be done while bathing, massaging, nursing, or dressing your baby for bed.
first: set a soothing scene
When getting ready to give your infant a pressure point massage, make sure everything you need is at your fingertips:
- a pillow
- a waterproof pad
- two fluffy bath towels
- a formulated baby massage oil or chemical-free lotion
- warm room temperature, with no drafts
- soft music (we made a playlist for this exact moment)
- turn off your phone + let it go to voicemail
- keep the lighting low to create a relaxing ambience
Your massage area may consist of a waterproof pad placed on top of a pillow, which is then covered by a soft bath towel. Ensure bub is laying on a comfy surface, either on a change table or on the floor with a soft towel or blanket. To start, place your nourishing oil or hydrating lotion in your palms and rub vigorously to warm your hands before applying to baby’s body.
what oils and lotions can I use to massage baby?
A quality oil or lotion infused with the right botanicals + essential oils is your start point for releasing the benefits of pressure point massage. And of course, at b.box we’ve got you covered, with our gorgeous nourish oil and hydrate lotion, both formulated for their luxurious skin nurturing properties.
b.box body nourish bath + massage oil helps improve the skin’s elasticity by softening, nourishing, and reconditioning the skin. Enriched with a deeply hydrating and moisture intensive carrier oil base, our aromatic nourish bath + massage oil not only gently leaves their baby’s skin feeling hydrated, silky smooth and smelling beautiful, but it is made from botanical elements of coconut, sunflower, and jojoba to hydrate and replenish the skin’s natural barrier, including the essential oils of mandarin and chamomile to offer nourishing properties to sensitive skins prone to dryness or irritation.
To use, simply milk 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:
- works as an antioxidant and can help to smooth skin
- made of natural extracts
- commonly known for its soothing + skin softening benefits
- non-irritating, boasts anti-inflammatory + antibacterial properties
- a great ingredient to help soothe sensitive skin
- decreasing inflammation, replenishing the skin’s barrier + improving hair loss
- contains significant quantities of Vitamin E.
Shop for nourish here
Skin commonly needs hydration and 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 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 the skin feeling soft and looking radiant, and aromatic essentials oils of calendula and chamomile to calm the skin, soothe irritation, and smell amazing!
Massage hydrate gently and slowly into skin when applying pressure points 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:
- can help to nourish, protect + heals the skin for optimal rejuvenation
- soothing for mum after a long day out with the kids!
- extremely moisturising + hydrating
- may make skin soft and smooth for pregnancy, for bubs + for the whole family
Shop for hydrate here
DIY Baby Pressure Point Massage to Apply at Home
1. Pressure point A – to relieve head + teeth area
If your baby is showing symptoms of teething, you can try to help relieve some pressure by gently massaging each of baby’s toe tips. Start by placing your fingers on baby’s big toe, lightly press or squeeze and slowly massage in a circular motion. Then, move along the rest of baby’s toes. Toe tips can be rather delicate, so be careful not to be too firm.
2. Pressure Point B – to relieve the sinuses
Is your baby struggling with a sniffly nose? This time we focus on the centre of each toe, as this area is known to be connected to sinus congestion. Start by applying light pressure to the underside of baby’s big toe, and massage gently in a circular motion. Then move along the rest of baby’s toes.
3. Pressure Point C – to relieve the lungs
Baby’s chest sounding a little congested? To help provide some relief, you can try applying light pressure and gently massaging the balls of baby’s feet which are said to be connected to the lungs.
4. Pressure Point D - for tummy troubles
An upset tummy can leave baby (and parents!) feeling restless. Try helping to ease any tummy troubles by gently massaging baby’s footpad (the bit in between the ball of the foot and the heel). Place your thumb in the centre and apply light pressure to massage in a circular motion.
5. Pressure Point E - for upper + lower abdomen
At some stage, almost all newborns and babies will experience gas, colic, constipation, or indigestion. More foot massage might help! If you imagine the foot divided into 4 sections one below the other, starting at the base of the toes; gently massage the second and third sections. This area is known to help with relief of the upper + lower abdomen respectively. For constipation and indigestion, commonly associated with the upper abdomen, try putting light pressure at the centre of baby’s foot.
If you begin to repeat these steps + increase the duration of the massage, your baby may begin to look forward to this experience with you, and you’ll have successfully cultivated a beautiful ritual together. And if bubs still becomes fussy? Just pause + try again. After all, it is you, mama – that has the power to put your baby at ease!
Let your baby indulge in the beautiful connection that massage may bring – and help you both to peacefully relax and unwind. And remember: if your baby’s symptoms persist despite your well-intentioned efforts, then listen to
your wise instincts mama, and immediately seek advice from your health nurse, local GP, or paediatrician. Until then, relax and enjoy the ride!
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 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. Antonette lives by her everyday mantra: ‘Let the beauty of what you love, be what you do...’ and is inspired by her family and gorgeous boys – where her skin care journey began.)