Human beings grow most rapidly during our childhood years. The bones lengthen, muscles become sturdier, sense organs get stronger; the brain grows rapidly, and so does immunity.
The traditional practice of Abhyanga done to babies is very much in accordance with the principles of Ayurveda newborn care. Childbirth is a natural process involving considerable stress & strain on both to mother & child increasing Vata dosha in the body.
According to Ayurveda, Abhyanga (oil massage) is best for controlling aggravated Vata dosha. A balanced Vata Dosha is essential for babies' proper growth and development.
Abhyanga is a fantastic way of developing a bond between mother & child. Tactile stimulation caused during massage releases hormones like Oxytocin which creates a pleasurable feeling both in mother & child; it improves their mental bonding. The physical maneuver done during the massage is helpful in the child's neuromuscular development.
Studies have also shown that oil is not just a lubricant; various oils used have other added benefits like weight gain & providing nutrition.
Here's a gentle Ayurvedic massage oil recipe suitable for babies during the onset of winter:
Ayurvedic Baby Massage Oil for Winter
Sesame Oil (Til Tel): 100 ml
- Sesame oil is known for its warming properties and is commonly used in Ayurvedic preparations for infants.
Coconut Oil (Nariyal Tel): 50 ml
- Coconut oil helps in moisturizing and nourishing the baby's delicate skin.
Almond Oil (Badam Tel): 30 ml
- Almond oil is rich in Vitamin E and provides additional nourishment for the baby's skin.
Ghee (Clarified Butter): 20 ml
- Ghee is deeply moisturizing and helps in enhancing the skin's natural softness.
Ajwain (Carom Seeds) Decoction: 50 ml
- Ajwain has warming properties and aids in digestion. Prepare a decoction by boiling ajwain seeds in water and then cooling and straining it.
Tulsi (Holy Basil) Leaves Paste: 1 teaspoon
- Tulsi is revered for its antibacterial properties. Grind fresh tulsi leaves into a smooth paste.
Turmeric Powder (Haldi): 1/4 teaspoon
- Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and is beneficial for the skin.
Prepare the Base Oil: In a clean, dry container, mix sesame oil, coconut oil, and almond oil.
Add Ghee: Gently warm the ghee until it becomes liquid. Add it to the oil mixture and stir well.
Incorporate Herbal Ingredients: Add the ajwain decoction, tulsi paste, and turmeric powder to the oil mixture. Blend thoroughly.
Strain and Store: Strain the oil mixture to remove any solid particles. Store the oil in a dark glass bottle to prevent deterioration from light.
Benefits of Abhyanga for Babies
- It strengthens the bond between a parent and their baby. It promotes skin-to-skin contact, eye contact, and communication.
- It helps your baby to relax and feel more comfortable.
- It helps in proper Neuromuscular wellness.
- It improves the luster of the skin
- It builds the immunity of the child
- Enhances the natural sleep of the baby
- It improves thermoregulation (temperature control)
- It nourishes hair & scalp
- Help stimulate the digestive system and ease colic, constipation, and gas symptoms.
- It helps in proper weight gain
- It is helpful in the overall growth & development of the baby /toddler
When & How to Massage a Newborn Baby
- It should be done preferably in the morning or the evening, on an empty stomach. If the baby has been fed, waiting an hour before doing the massage is best.
- Baby can be seated or spread on a tub or clean sheet to massage.
- Oil should be slightly warm before being applied over the body. You can take the required amount of oil in a bowl and place it in warm water to heat it.
- Use gentle, circular motions with your fingertips or palms to massage your baby's body. Start at the head and work your way down to the feet, using light pressure.
- Watch for signs that your baby is uncomfortable or not enjoying the massage. If your baby seems upset or fussy, stop the massage and try again later.
- Avoid massaging your baby's face, head, and genital area. Also, avoid putting pressure on the soft spot on the top of the head, known as the fontanelle.
- Pressure should never be applied while massaging babies
- The hands & nails of the caregiver have to be hygienically maintained while massaging babies. Nails should be trimmed to avoid injuring sensitive skin
- Contact of oil with eyes has to be avoided
- Some babies may be allergic to a few oils; apply a drop on hands to see to check for any reactions.
- Care should be taken while holding the baby and massaging to prevent falls and injury.
- A lukewarm water bath should always follow Abhyanga. Ensure the water is not too hot and comfortable for the baby.
- After Abhyanga baby should be well-covered & kept warm, the baby should never be exposed to cold wind.
Babies' health is the major point of concern and holistic wellness awareness is on the rise. Health is much more than just Nutrition and hygiene now dwelling into a more complete and real meaning. Multiple developments and researches are being continuously done world wide and Indian traditions are being validated by the Western Sciences. We hope this helps your baby stay healthy this Winter, do write back to us with your experience with becoming a little yogi by yourself it!