Baby Massage – Head and Face
Initially, babies tend to resist head and face massage, particularly during the first few weeks of life, and if the delivery was long or traumatic. Try this massage for three to four consecutive days. If your baby seems unhappy or cries, place still hands on his head to reassure him, then massage other parts of his body. Do this each time you massage him until he is ready for a head massage. Once babies are accustomed to these strokes, they tend to enjoy them greatly, and even more so as they get older. Lay your baby on his back with his feet closest to you. Use light strokes with little or no oil.
1. STROKING THE HEAD
Cup your hands around your baby’s head with your forefingers on his hairline. Moving your hands simultaneously, stroke backwards over the crown of the head until you reach the base of his skull. Move directly on to step two.
2. STROKING THE JAW
Part your hands and bring them to the sides of his face. Stroke along the jaw line with your fingers until they meet at the chin. Repeat steps 1 and 2 several times.
1. STRETCHING THE FOREHEAD
Position your thumbs at the centre of your baby’s forehead, just below the hairline. Stroke each thumb outwards in a straight line to the sides of the face. Repeat all the way down the forehead, as if you are drawing a series of lines with your thumbs.
2. MASSAGING THE TEMPLES
On the last stroke across the forehead, place your thumbs in the centre, just above the eyebrows, and glide them across to your baby’s temples gently, but firmly. Now make several small, circular strokes on the temples.
3. STROKING THE UPPER CHEEKBONES
Place your thumbs on either side of the bridge of the nose. In a single flowing stroke, move each thumb simultaneously downwards and outwards, along the upper part of the cheek bone to the sides of the face.
4. STROKING THE LOWER CHEEKBONES
Position your thumbs on either side of the bridge of the nose again, this time slightly lower down. Make a single sweeping stroke with each thumb from this position along the lower part of the cheek bone and out to the sides of the face.
5. CIRCLES ON THE TOP JAWLINE
Position your thumbs side-by-side on the dip above your baby’s top lip. Pressing lightly, make small, circular movements with the thumbs. Glide each thumb outwards a little and repeat. Do this along the length of the top jaw line and out towards the ears.
6. CIRCLES ON THE LOWER JAWLINE
Place your thumbs side-by-side just below the centre of the lower lip. Using light pressure, make a circular movement with each thumb, then slide them outwards a little way and repeat. Do this along the lower jaw line, again, towards the ears.
7. SQUEEZING THE EARS
Hold the outer edge of the upper ear between forefinger and thumb. From this position, make small circular strokes down the outer edge of the ear to the lobe.
8. SQUEEZING THE CHIN
Starting at the centre of the chin, hold the flesh at the bottom of the chin between thumb and forefinger and squeeze gently. Repeat along the length of the lower jaw line to the ear, then on the other side of the chin. Alternatively, pinch both sides of the chin simultaneously using both hands.
9. STROKING THE HEAD
Repeat the steps for the head massage above to finish the head and face massage.
This is an excerpt from The Baby Massage, The Calming Power of Touch by Dr Alan Heath & Nicki Bainbridge, DK Publishing