Nourishing the New Mother: Ayurvedic Postnatal Care Practices
Shishu Abhyanga or Baby Oil Massage, is an ancient Ayurvedic tradition widely practiced in India among new parents. It is well-known that regular oil massage has many benefits for a baby. Infant’s skin is delicate and sensitive; therefore, daily oil massage can promote healthy skin, provide relief from dryness, and hydrate skin to keep your baby protected. In addition to this, your baby will have increased blood circulation, strengthening the immune system and enhancing physical development. Hence, baby massage is a ritual that promotes physical, mental, and emotional well-being and can be performed daily to promote strong bonding between mother and child.
We’ve put together a baby massage guide featuring simple step-by-step instructions so that anyone can easily practice this ancient Ayurvedic tradition at home. Before starting a massage, you must take some precautions as described below:
- Abhyanga should be done preferably in the morning.
- Use a clean sheet while giving a massage.
- Use a slightly warm oil for giving a baby massage. Take a few drops on your palm before applying to your baby’s skin to avoid skin burn.
- Do not give a massage on a full stomach as sudden aspiration can occur. If the baby has been fed, it is best to wait for an hour before the massage.
- The pressure should be gentle to moderate.
- Massage must be done with clean hands and nails. You must trim the nails to avoid causing any harm to the baby’s skin.
- Make sure oil is not in contact with the baby’s eyes.
- Use caution when holding and massaging the baby to avoid falls and injuries.
- Babies should always be kept warm & well covered after Abhyanga.
Step By Step Process to Give Shishu Abhyanga:
Baby oil massage can be one of the best ways to bond with your baby. Not only does it help you to connect with your baby, but it also helps to relax them, making it easier for both of you to fall asleep at night. However, performing a massage can be difficult when you have never done one before. Here is a step-by-step process to give your baby a massage using baby oil in simple steps:
Step 1: Get Your Baby Ready
The first thing you must do is get your baby ready for their massage. You should make them feel comfortable and relaxed, so make sure that they are wearing something soft and comfortable, such as a t-shirt or onesie. It is also important that the room is warm enough, so check the room temperature on your thermostat to ensure that it is comfortably warm for your baby.
Step 2: Prepare the Area
You will need ample area to give Shishu Abhyanga. The bed, floor, or changing table are good options. Then place a towel on the surface and lay your baby down. The towel will prevent you from getting baby oil on the beg or table, and it will also provide a comfortable, soft surface for your little one.
Step 3: Select Oil
Always select an unscented oil that’s safe for babies, such as mineral oil, coconut oil, or olive oil. You can give a massage with Baby Forest Maasoom Maalish baby body massage oil. This oil is a mishran of 10 Ayurvedic natural essential oils of herbs, flowers, nut oils, and medicinal plants that are good for baby skin.
Pour some onto your hands and rub them together to warm it up before you start massaging your baby’s body.
Step 4: Lower Body Massage
Slowly massage heels and toes with firm, gentle strokes. Hold baby by one hand at all times. Then massage the leg from ankle to thigh and from hip to hip. Smoothly massage the leg for several minutes. It is recommended to do this on both legs simultaneously. Do not rub the genital area.
Step 5: Upper Body Area
Massage the upper back by placing both hands in the downward direction from shoulders to waist. After that, massage each arm separately. Start from the wrist up to the shoulder by making circular motions with the fingers and palms of hands. Repeat this process for another arm also.
Step 6: Back Massage
After massaging the front of your baby’s body, turn them onto their tummy and massage them from head to toe. Make sure your touch is soothing. Take a pause if you feel your baby is uncomfortable.
Step 7: Face Massage
Massage the baby’s face with your finger pads. You should begin at the middle of the forehead, down the outer side of the baby’s face, and then in toward the cheeks. Gently massage the scalp in small circular motions.
Shishu abhyanga is a great way to achieve success in parenthood while also building up a family’s cultural traditions. It teaches parents valuable lessons about loving care and reciprocity and provides a connection to the future that extends beyond their own lifespan. If you want your family to form strong cultural ties, this is the ritual for you.
Ayurveda has a wealth of traditional knowledge when it comes to newborn care. The ritual of Sishu Abhyanga is just one such example. As part of its main objective, it focuses on stimulating senses and organs during birth in order to improve the newborn’s overall health and well-being.