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Baby Massage: Upper Body and Back Massage

Martha Stewart Baby, Winter 2001

1. Extend your baby's right arm (if she is holding it in tightly, gentle shakes will help her to release it), and hold her right wrist. With a flattened palm, stroke down from her right shoulder to wrist and back up again.

2. Still holding the wrist, encircle your baby's upper arm, and squeeze with gentle pulses down the arm and back up.

3. Grasp your baby's right hand, and rotate her wrist a few times clockwise, then a few times counterclockwise. Gently maneuver your thumb in her closed fist to open her hand.

4. Gently pull each finger, then trace tiny circles all over the palm with the ball of your thumb. Repeat steps 13 to 16 on her left arm and hand.

5. With all 10 fingers, trace tiny circles all over your baby's scalp (no oil is needed for the scalp).

6. Using your thumbs or any two opposing fingers, trace the following paths on your baby's face (do each of the motions three times): the center of the forehead out to the temples; along the eyebrows to the temples...

7. ...under the eyes, from the nose out to the temples; down along the sides of the nose and out toward the ears. Don't be surprised if your baby makes funny faces; new babies work so hard at sucking and crying that these muscles are often quite tense.

8. Start in the center of your baby's chin, and trace the jawline, out toward the point where top and bottom jaw meet.

9. Find the jaw hinge, and trace tiny circles with your fingertips at this spot. (Start softly, and increase pressure gradually -- this is a particularly tension-filled spot for babies.)

10. Hold each earlobe between your thumb and forefinger, and trace tiny circles on it.

11. Flip your baby over. Babies often do not like this position as much, so put a toy or something intriguing in front of her to attract her attention. Now, using all 10 fingers, trace tiny circles all over the back of her head.

12. On either side of the spine, use your thumbs to trace tiny ever-widening circles on the neck.

13. Continuing this circular motion, work down to the shoulders and the back all the way to the buttocks (avoid pressing on the spine itself).

14. Alternating hands, make crisscrossing strokes over the back, from one side of the body to the other, working your way down from the shoulders to the small of the back and over the buttocks.

15. End the massage with one long stroking motion down the back of the body, all the way from head to toe and back up.

16. After a massage, your baby may fall into a peaceful sleep.

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