Baby massage, how to do it and why

In Africa and Asia, mothers have always practiced the art of massage on their babies. A practice that, on the other hand, has been lost in the West, but which there are a thousand good reasons to rediscover.

First of all because it allows the child to become aware of his own body, and secondly because it relieves them colic and soothes the cry, decreases stress, improves the quality of sonno and helps the little ones to feel good about themselves.

The massage, according to the kinesitherapist Isabelle Gambet-Drago, can be practiced from the day after the birth, in different ways (illustrated by the expert in the Doctissimo magazine) depending on the age.

How to massage your baby from 0 to 18 months

In the first month, the baby particularly appreciates the back massage, from top to bottom. Up to a year of life, explains the physiotherapist, it must be an enveloping massage, practiced with the whole palm of the hands and not just with the fingertips.

The open hand can also be passed over the torso, arms and legs. For the feet, on the other hand, you have to use your thumbs, massaging from the heel towards the toes. Attention, because babies do not like tickling: the touch must be sweet but firm.

How to massage the child from 18 months to 3 years

The massage is practiced in the form of a game, and the child prefers it while sitting. Adapt to his thirst for discovery, suggests Isabelle Gambet-Drago, and take the opportunity to massage him "drawing" on his back, or with your fingers pretend to be a spider walking on his belly.

How to massage the child after 3 years

Candles, music, blankets on the floor… your child will be happy to imagine being in a spa. And at this age, the expert advises, you can experiment with various techniques, because he will tell you what he likes: the "rake", practiced from the shoulders towards the buttocks with the fingertips open, or the "dough" (the movement is the same as when kneading the pizza), especially for the upper part of the back; or even the caresses, the pats ...

Tips for children of all ages! You can pour a few drops of sweet almond oil on the palms of your hands before starting the massage, to make it even more enjoyable. Massages, on the other hand, should be avoided when the child has a fever or eczema. Finally, the massage should not be practiced in a hasty way, perhaps between a phone call and an appointment: to make it pleasant, even the mother must be relaxed.


  • baby massage
  • colic
  • to cry
  • sleep
  • newborn 4-8 months
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