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Baby Massage: Lower Body and Belly Massage

Martha Stewart Baby, Winter 2001

1. You will need a wide, sturdy bowl with room-temperature vegetable-based oil. Sit on the floor with your baby in front of you on a mat or rug covered with towels.

2. Dip your fingers in the oil, and rub a small amount on your hands. Take your baby's right foot in your hand; with your thumb, trace tiny circles all over the bottom of the foot. Take hold of each toe, and individually rotate it, then give each toe a gentle tug.

3. Holding the right ankle steady in one hand, grasp the right foot with your other hand. Rotate it a few times clockwise, then a few times counterclockwise.

 4. Pressing gently with the ball of your thumb, make tiny circles all over the anklebone area.

 5. Hold your baby's right ankle in your right hand. With a long open-palmed motion, stroke the side of the leg from buttocks to heel and back.

6. Encircle your baby's thigh, then squeeze with small pulses (like milking a cow) down the leg to the ankle, then back up to the upper thigh; repeat this three times. Repeat steps 2 to 6 on the left foot and leg.

7. Using a three-part motion, start with your hands in prayer position over your baby's chest. Like flattening the pages of a book, stroke your hands down and outward in one smooth motion over the chest.

8. Then stroke up and over the shoulders and down your baby's sides, following the line of the rib cage. Repeat the chest massage, from prayer position to final rib-cage stroke (steps 7 and 8), three times.

9. With an open hand, start at left shoulder, and stroke in one long motion across your baby's body, ending at the opposite hip, then follow the same line back to the shoulder. Repeat three times, then reverse (right shoulder to left hip).

10. With flattened palm, make clockwise circles on your baby's abdomen. With the side of the hand (as shown here), press from the top of your baby's abdomen down to the top of the genitals.

11. Follow that motion with the opposite hand, then repeat over and over in paddle-wheel fashion.

12. Hold your baby's heels together, and raise her legs up, as if diapering (this releases the muscles in the belly and allows the massage to go deeper). Using your right hand in the same motion as before, stroke from the bottom of the rib cage downward.


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