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Indians and oil massages go hand in hand. Indeed, no culture around the wrold believes in the power and goodness of massages like we do. However, recent research has revealed a really scary fact about massage and the mistake we may be committing unknowingly. Let us be warned at once so as to keep our little darlings safe!
There’s nothing like a nice warm massage to soothe your little one and help strengthen the bond between you and baby. What’s more, it is believed that a massage also stimulates your baby’s brain and improves digestion. Some parents even swear that a massage is what puts their baby to sleep when nothing else does. With so many benefits, it seems evident that you should massage your baby. So, what is it that experts are warning us against?
Well, here it goes: Experts have warned that babies should NOT be massaged with olive or sunflower oil as this could cause long-term damage to their delicate skin. According to their research, it has been seen that such babies have an increased risk of developing eczema and other skin problems. Many parents use these oils under the wrong impression that these oils are safe because they are natural. Unfortunately, not all natural produts are safe for your bundle. Dr Alison Cooke shares what happens when olive or sunflower oil is applied on your baby’s skin:
“These oils break down into fatty acids which damage the skin’s structure, allowing irritants to enter and too much water to escape. This can lead to dryness, cracks and conditions such as eczema. To avoid harm to babies, until further research is available, those two topical oils – olive oil and sunflower oil – should not be recommended for treatment of dry skin or for baby massage.Instead, do what dermatologists recommend and use 50/50 cream, which is a mix of liquid and soft paraffin.”
Phew! That was unnerving, wasn’t it? While this is not to say that such oils will necessarily cause skin problems (indeed many moms have noted that these oils keep their baby’s skin supple), there’s no smoke without fire, right? Until we have more conclusive reportage on this, it may be best to consult with the paediatrician and opt for a baby massage oil that is approved by them as well as by dermatologists.
Also check out the list below to see if you are making any of these other massage mistakes.
Other Massage Mistakes You Must Avoid
1. Massaging Too Forcefully
Do you have a massage lady who massages your baby, or do you do it yourself? Regardless, remember this the next time you massage your little one: your baby is delicate and cannot handle a lot of pressure on his soft skin and newly formed bones. Make sure that the massage is gentle and comforting. After all, your baby is supposed to relax and enjoy this!
2. Massaging Against Baby’s Wishes
If while massaging your baby, your child shows signs of getting upset one time too many, stop! Proceeding to massage him in this irritated state will only frustrate and stress him out. There are other ways to soothe and bond with your baby – and you can always schedule your massage for any other day.
3. Using Harsh or Smelly Oils
Owing to the sensitive nature of your little one’s eyes, nose and skin, make sure you stay away from harsh or smelly essential oils like peppermint. Oils like these can irrtate your baby’s eyes and make him cranky and uncomfortable. To be on the safe side, opt for baby oil as it is mild and specially formulated for your little one’s skin.
4. Massaging While Doing Something Else
When massaging your kid, do not do it while you are engaged in some other activity, even if it is something as mundane as watching TV. Even a little bit of careleseness on your part may result in your baby getting scratched or poked. Maintain good eye contact with your little one, smile and talk to him lovingly to bond with your sweetheart. Not only will this be a pleasant experience for you, it will also let your little one know how much you are enjoying spending time with him.
5. Massaging in the Wrong Position
Not only is the time of massage important, the position is important too. Make sure you are sitting on a flat, even surface while massaging your little one. Then, keep your baby on a soft cloth before you begin the massage. This is because if you hold your baby in your arms while massaging, there are chances he may slip and fall on the ground. Refer to this guide to get an inside view of baby massage and the best way ti go about it.
A massage, when done right, will help relax your baby and boost your bond. But if your baby keeps crying and resisting this, maybe you are doing something wrong. In this case, consult a professional or your paediatrican immediately to figure out what may be going wrong so you can fix it at once.