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Baby Massage provides a loving, gentle communication time between you and your baby. It has been practised in many countries and cultures for centuries and for good reason. Research studies show that massage and loving touch have terrific positive effects on baby’s brain, body and emotional development. There are so many GREAT reasons to massage your little one from birth, but what is the best oil to use?
Most of us would agree that both giving and receiving massage feels great with oil…however, there are some important factors that you need to know before deciding which oil to use on your baby.
Which massage oil should I use for baby massage?
If you would like to use oil for baby massage, we recommend organic, cold pressed, unrefined, light, edible vegetable, fruit, nut or seed oils. Examples include sesame, almond and coconut oils.
Why Organic, Cold Pressed Oils? Pure cold pressed oil is both nourishing and easily absorbed by your baby’s skin. Mineral oil on the other hand, will leave a greasy film over the skin’s surface. As cold pressed oils are absorbed so well, it is important that they are organic and free from pesticides – you don’t want these baddies being absorbed into your baby’s body systems. Non-organic oils may also have been bleached or refined, stripping out the beneficial properties and they may have had chemicals added.
Paraffin Based Oils – No Thank You. Paraffin or petroleum based oils, lotions and creams are not recommended for baby massage. Everything that your babies absorb through their skin has to be processed by their little livers, so keep it natural and organic. Also, because babies will tend to put their hands and feet into their mouths, whichever oil you use for massage you need to be happy for your baby to ingest. You wouldn’t put a paraffin based oil, cream or lotion in your own mouth, so they are not for your baby either. Basic rule of thumb; Do not use any oil for baby massage that you yourself would not put in your own mouth!
Other Oils to Avoid. If there’s a history of food allergies in your family, avoid the types of oils based on those food types. Peanut allergy is a common example. Peanut oil is not recommended for baby massage. Also, just because an oil is edible, it doesn’t necessarily make it suitable for massage. Take olive oil for example, it’s texture is too thick for massage and it will not be absorbed sufficiently by your baby’s skin. Olive oil is also higher in oleic acid which can actually dry out your baby’s skin.
So leave some oils for salads and cooking and others for delightful baby massage.
Oils that are common favourites for baby massage
Sesame Oil: Sesame oil is easily absorbed, has a lovely texture and is high in vitamins (A, B, E) and minerals . Sesame oil especially recommended for sensitive skin and is high in linoleic acid giving it antibacterial properties.
Almond Oil: Almond oil is easily absorbed, has a wonderful silky texture and contains vitamins (A, E, B1 and B6). Almond oil is also naturally rich in emollients, which prevent the skin from becoming dry and is therefore also great for sensitive skin.
Coconut Oil: If using coconut oil make sure you choose extra virgin coconut oil so it is as pure as possible. Coconut oil is especially good to use in the summer months as it has a cooling effect on the body. This oil has other wonderful benefits too, it contains anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. Note: avoid using coconut oil near baby’s eyes and nose.
Before you start massaging your baby with any oil
Before you use a new oil, always test a little of that oil on a small patch of your baby’s skin and leave it for 24 hours to check for any reaction. A good place to do this is the thigh area. Do not use the oil if there is a reaction. Wipe and wash it off immediately.
Do not put any oil in your baby’s eyes, nose or ears as this could lead to infections.
If you do use an oil, be careful when you pick your baby up after massage as their skin could be slippery!!
See our full guide Baby Massage: Before You Start here: Baby Massage Checklist
For more on Why and How to massage your baby, including massages to follow along with, watch GymbaROO’s extremely popular online video here: Baby Massage Online Video
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