Archives for the day Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Yassy’s note: Liam in NICU;Baby massage on legs and feet

In the previous entry titled “Yassy’s note: Liam in NICU;day 15- day 19“, I wrote Liam came to our family about 3 weeks early and he has spent next 3 weeks in NICU.

There, we met the lady doctor who gave us the second opinion on the surgery to put the feed tube in the stomach due to Liam’s poor feeding.

As the days passes by, his feeding got better and better.

At first, he had hard time drinking milk even 5 or 10 ml per sitting in the early NICU days, but by the 19th day, he could drink 35ml out of 50 ml he was expected to drink.

In the end, he yanked his feed tube off, and he was under observation for the feeding without it.

During the second week at NICU, me and my husband learned about the baby massage and in this entry, I would like to focus on the baby massage.

Benefit of Baby massage..

Baby massage has a great number of benefit for your babies besides baby massaging creates another peaceful quiet bonding time with you.

At NICU, we learned it has following benefits.

From Physical point of views, it increase the blood circulation, relieve constipation/gas/colic, helps them relax and sleep better, develops nervous system, promotes muscular development and immune system, enhance the weight gain, decrease crying etc..

From emotional point of view, it reduce stress, creates/developing bonding, develops the feeling of love, develops independence, develop sense of security, builds self confidence and increase leaning capability.

In addition to that, the e-magazine that I read on baby care said that there are plenty of methods/techniques for the baby massage targeting on the specific needs.

In this baby massage series, I would like to cover basic,general massage along with massages with specific purpose section by section.

In this entry, lets focus on legs and feet.

General / basic baby massage (good from 0 years old)

Baby massage is best done with a baby wearing just diaper in the warm room.

Then, use a blanket or towel underneath the babies and massage the baby with sweet almond oil (none scented one).

The instructor’s note says that you could use olive oil or grape seed oil as well but you want to test oil to use to see if your baby would not get any reaction from it by applying tiny dot inside their arm.

To apply the oil, you will put your second finger on top of the opened bottle top and support the bottle with your thumb and upside down the oil so the oil touches your second finger.

Of course, you want to leave any devices that distracts you such as phones, TV etc..

You want the same for breastfeeding time as well.

Except the time you want to do the tummy massage for better digestion or lessen the gas, best time to do the baby massage is before the feed as long as they are not crying for hunger, or  after a bath.

We did massage before the feeding under the instruction via therapist who visited NICU for Liam.

Pick the time your babies are not sleepy but alert and in good mood.

When the babies are not in good mood or sick or having jaundice or right after the vaccinations, you should not practice the massage on them.

Tips for baby massage on each developmental stage..

0-2 month; One session should be under 5 minutes. You could pick one massage technique,one section and do the rest other time

3-6 month; It is about the time when babies start showing interests in hands. Giving massage on the arms and hands and stimulate the area would help them develop hand coordination.

7-11 month; They will become more active and probably they would rather like to move around rather than staying on one spot on their back. Synchronizing the massage with the developmental stage such as rolling over or crawling, you could make the massage like a game.

1-1 year 6 month; Getting better understanding the language and they would be able to communicate with you a little by little. Why not teaching them the name of the spot; leg, back, foot etc..

You can tell them you will massage which part of the body and give them a massage.

It is about the time where muscle and nerve on the toe would develop more and Japanese e-magazine recommends to focus on the massage on the toes massage for that reason.

Baby massage 1-2-3..

Now, sit on the floor with your baby right in front of you on the blanket.

Start with a gentle conversation to your baby.I used to talk to Liam while I touch/stroke his head to catches his attention.

If the baby were quiet ,calm, and in gentle mood, then gently massage baby’s body section by section.

Massage is not like recipes for one dish. You would work section by section first. Then, when the baby got used to the whole idea of being massaged, then, you can do a few techniques in one session.

If you see your baby yawning,trying to get away from you or crying etc (sign of stress) ..,stop  the massage and done for the day.

For one section, repeating the technique is up to 3 times. More than that would stimulate the section too much.

For today, I will introduce Leg section massage technique using the print out we got from NICU.

You can click the picture to enlarge them.

Baby massage; Legs

Baby massage 1 blog

Indian Milking technique for legs

  • Place a couple of drops of oil in your hands and rub your palms together. Make sure you are not wearing jewelry.
  • Support baby’s ankle with one hand
  • With the other hand, form the letter “C” and wrap around baby’s leg
  • Move in long sweeping strokes towards the foot
  • When you reach the ankle, swap hands and repeat the movement

According to my Japanese e-magazine article, root of the legs and behind the knee have lymph node.

When you stimulate the area, circulation on the area becomes better and it makes better digestion and better immune system.

I do not remember why but our instructor skipped the #2 technique;hugs and glide

Thumb-over-thumb technique for feet

  • On one of her foot, use a thumb-over-thumb motion to massage from heel to toes.

According to Japanese e-magazine article, back of the foot got reflexology that connects with organs;heart and left lung will be connected to left foot reflexology, gallbladder and right lung will be connected to right foot reflexology.

Therefore, stimulating those area would help developing motor nerve and also helps organs to revitalize.

Toe squeeze technique for feet

  • Gently squeeze and roll each of your baby’s toes between your thumb and index finger
  • Give each toe a gentle pull
  • Now repeat the moves

According to Japanese e-magazine article, stimulating the tip of the toe, from head to toe neural transmission gets smoother/better and helps better motor nerve development.

Under toes and ball of foot

  •  With your forefinger, gently press the ball of the foot, just under the toes and gently stroke downwards

According to Japanese e-magazine article, stimulating the back of the foot this way will make the foot warmer as well. When foot is cold, people tends to get sleep shallow sleep.

By warming up the foot this way, it will make the foot warmer and makes babies sleep better..

Japanese e-magazine has pre step before this under the toe exercise.

Before doing the under the toe massage above, they massage the whole leg first

  • With left hand, support the baby’s leg
  • With the other hand’s palm, stroke the leg from root of the leg toward the knee and then to the tip of the toe

This exercise is simply warming the legs, they instruct to do the exercise about 10 times.

Thumb press

  • Hold baby’s foot so your thumbs will be on your baby’s back of the foot
  • Then, using both of your thumbs, gently press about 10 times all over the foot

According to Japanese e-magazine article, since back of the foot got the spot where it encourages the better digestion,this technique works good for constipated babies;those who cannot poop for many days.

Top of foot

  • Hold baby’s foot so your thumbs will be on your baby’s front/top side of foot
  • Gently stroke one after another with thumbs over the top of the foot from toes side to the heel

Circles around ankle

  • Hold your baby’s heel forming the letter “C” and wrap around baby’s ankle
  • Using your thumb, gently press around the ankle area in small circles

Baby massage 2 blog

Swedish Milking

  • Hold your baby’s ankle with one hand and with other hands, gently stroke baby’s leg from ankle side towards root of the foot

You can find more with illustration at infant massage USA PDF documents here.

There are some other technique listed on Japanese e-magazine article so, I am going to explain on that.

Massaging calf..

  • Place your thumb over the spot where you see a bit dent/dip on the back of the foot
  • While gently pressuring the spot on the back of the foot, make small circle downward around calf with other hand from below knee spot to the heel

According to Japanese e-magazine article, massaging the calf would make the blood circulation better and when you pressure the spot on the back of the foot, it would help building the healthy body since the blood would circulate to the back of the foot.

Swaying the legs..

  • Hold baby’s ankle both side in each hand and gently sway the legs to right,left,right left

Make sure that you are not pulling your baby’s butt up in the air.Butt should be touching on the floor.

According to Japanese e-magazine article,by swaying the legs right left right left, it would loosen up the muscle that connects from legs to the butt and muscle on the back.

When muscle is loosen up, it makes better blood circulation.


  • Hold baby’s ankle both side in each hand and gently push up towards their tummy on one side ,and bring that leg down and push other leg up. Then, bring that leg down and push the other side of the legs up towards their tummy.
  • When you push one leg up toward tummy, gently give some pressure on their tummy but not too hard. And then,continue.
  • Once babies got used to the motion, you could move the leg in rhythm 1-2-1-2 (a little faster tempo)

According to Japanese e-magazine article,this bicycle move is good to relieve the constipation because this move stimulates intestine.

Stay tuned for more on baby massage.


Sep 17, 2015 | 0 | parenting