Fostering a Sense of Security Through Massage

Table of Contents

Fostering a sense of security through massage
Touch is important for babies. As everything is new to them, they explore the world around them through their sense of touch. A gentle massage helps to strengthen your bond with the baby – skin-to-skin contact is effective in conveying love and security.


What are the benefits of massage for babies?
Newboarns have very sensitive skin. They perceive temperature, touch and other stimuli intensively through their skin. Massaging your baby helps to reinforce their sense of physical self-awareness. It stimulates their breathing and heart function, and it is also effective to help relieve trapped gas and wind. Massage as a ritual before bed helps the baby to settle down.


Massage is an incredible way to strengthen trust and a sense of security. Skin-to-skin contact helps to release oxytocin, just like breastfeeding. This bonding hormone creates a sense of emotional linkage between child and parents.

Is there a right time for a massage?
There’s no strict rule or procedure as to when is the right time or when is wrong – as long as you and your baby are feeling comfortable. It can be practiced as part of your baby’s daily care routine, for instance after a warm bath or a nappy change. A gentle massage before bed can guide babies to process and anticipate what will happen.

Tips on Baby Massage

  • You can start massaging your baby right after birth. On the first day post birth, use gentle stroking movements to help baby adjust; after a few days you can gradually develop into a proper massage
  • Avoid massage right after meals as this might lead to spit up
  • To instill a sense of security, rest one hand on your baby while the other hand performs the massage movements
  • Baby does not need to be distracted during the massage session. Instead try to calm your baby by massage him/her in a quiet room with soft lighting
  • Experiment with both quiet massage and rhythmic massage accompanied through songs and humming, every baby is unique, we should consider their likes and dislikes. 

Massage Techniques


The Arms and Legs

  • Start from the baby’s leg, begin at the hip and slowly move down from the leg to the foot in circular movement. 
  • Move your thumb from the heel up over the sole and then up along each of the toes. 
  • Repeat the same order on the hands and arms. Begin at the shoulder, stroke the arm from top to bottom. Experiment with both clockwise and anticlockwise movement along the arm. 
  • Gently move your thumb in circular motion at the centre of the baby’s palm. 
  • End by extending the massage down and out over baby’s hands, and lastly the fingers

Tummy and Chest Massage

  • With one hand, make small circular movements across baby’s tummy while gently placing the other hand on another side of baby’s abdomen
  • Gently extend the massage to the chest area
  • If your baby is suffering with trapped gas, massage around the navel with gentle clockwise circular motion. End by moving the motions down over the left thigh – the last section of the intestine runs from the right over to the upper abdomen and end towards the bottom left. This movement will help to release trapped gas by leading it to the rectum. 

A comfortable baby massage also involves choosing the right product. Newborns’ skin are delicate and sensitive, it takes time for the skin’s acid mantle, sweat glands and sebaceous to readjust its function outside of the womb. Avoid synthetic oils as it is prone to cause skin irritation. Select a natural plant oil – it enables the skin to gradually develop its function and form a protective layer above your baby’s delicate skin.