Baby Massage Oils – What’s best to use
The topic of massage oils is one that comes up time and time again and rightly so! Your babies skin is so delicate and fragile that you should be asking these questions! So here’s some information that will help you to make an informed decision about the oils you use and what you put on your little ones skin.
There are many oils available on the market catered for baby massage and whilst Beautiful New Beginnings does not advocate any particular massage oil in particular, we will give you the information from leading studies and the science behind certain oils.
For many years olive oil has been used for massage and recommended by instructors. However, recent research in 2009 found that Olive Oil is particularly high in oleic acid. Oleic acid, with prolonged use, can cause the skin barrier to break down and essentially your babies skin to become more permeable. As such, prolonged use of olive oil for baby or infant massage is not recommended.
For the same reason, sunflower oil is also not recommended as it once was. Again, high levels of oleic acid found in the oil can damage the skin with prolonged use which can be especially damaging for those babies with dermatological issues or family history of eczema, dermatitis and other such conditions.
So what oils are suitable then?
It is always recommended to use an edible oil where possible as these oils are more easily digestible, more easily absorbed by the skin. When using synthetic oils, the particles in the oil are often too big to ever be absorbed into your babies skin. It will sit on top of the skin, forming a filmy layer on the skin. Edible oils are not only easily absorbed into your babies skin, but they are also more easily digested should your baby put their hands into their mouth.
In this sense then, edible oils are more widely recommended by instructors, and those low in oleic acid and high in linoleic acid. Alongside this, organic oils are better for babies skin, as no herbicides, pesticides or other chemicals have been used during growth and production. Moreover, cold pressed oils are also highly recommended.
Cold pressed oils typically retain more nutrients than oils which have been extracted through heating. This means your babies skin will benefit from the natural minerals and compounds found within the oil.
Many people ask about the benefit of coconut oil and again, whilst there are no right or wrong answers on the use of coconut oil, it must be remembered that the coconut is a complex character! It is a seed, a fruit and a nut! A seed because it is the reproductive part of the tree, a fruit, because it is a fibrous one-seeded drupe, and a nut, because a nut is nothing but a one seeded fruit! Coconut oil is also highly scented, one of the key benefits of massage is that babies can connect with a parent or caregivers natural smell first and foremost. Should you want to use coconut oil, fractionated oil is unscented and may be a better option.
That being said, it is important whatever oil you choose to use to patch test the oil first. Patch testing involves rubbing a small amount of your chosen oil onto the inside of your little ones arm 5-10 minutes before the massage begins. When we patch test, it is important to complete this before every massage due to the changeable nature of your babies skin. A patch test should confirm a no reaction is present. We are looking for anything that becomes red, raised and bumpy. Anything that looks like hives, or small red raised lumps on babies skin indicates a possible reaction and that the oil should not be used.
Other possible options of oil include avocado oil, apricot oil, rapeseed oil or corn oil, all of which are widely available in health food shops or online. Many may also be available in bigger supermarkets and a little will go a long way!
Should your baby struggle with eczema, it is absolutely fine to massage with double base and other emollient style moisturisers recommended by health care professionals. Indeed, this can become a lovely time for a short massage during the day which incorporates both medical need and bonding.
In short, whatever oil you choose to massage with is your choice. Feel free to do your own research and find an oil that suits your little one. Should you not want to use any oils at all, that too is fine, the oil will help your hands glide more fluidly over your babies body, but it is not essential and should you not choose to use it, massage can still be completed really effectively and strong bonds and communication between parent and child formed.
Please do feel free to join or free massage class on Wednesdays at 10am with your little one. You’ll find the links advertised in our free facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/onlinebabyfun/announcements
You would be so very welcome!
What is tummy time and why is it so important
Tummy time is the name given to the amount of time on their tummy a baby spends when awake and the benefits to both baby and parent/carer are huge.
Tummy Time was a term coined in the 1980’s when studies found that it was safer for babies to sleep on their backs and in doing so, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) was greatly reduced. The Back to Sleep Campaign launched by The Lullaby Trust in the 1980’s saw incidence of SIDS fall by 80%. However, whilst this is undoubtedly the safest way for babies to sleep, the effects on babies gross motor development and the meeting of developmental milestones was subsequently affected.
In research, it has been shown by many paediatricians that front sleeping babies developed gross motor ability and met developmental milestones on time, or earlier than babies who slept on their back. Whilst it would never be suggested to return to a front sleeping method for our babies, this research did promote the ‘Back to Sleep Front to Play,’ advice promoted in the late 1990’s.
So what is tummy time and what are the benefits?
Tummy time as suggested earlier in the article is simply the time a baby spends on their tummy during their waking time and the benefits to baby are plentiful
- Builds neck and shoulder muscles
- Helps prevent flat spot forming on head
- Promotes gross motor skill
- Helps lifting head
- Helpful for torticollis – shortening of the neck muscles on one side
- Helps prepare for rolling, sitting, standing and crawling
- Develops hand eye co-ordination
- Strengthens hands and extremities
- Helps visual focus
- Develops eye tracking
- Strengthens jaw muscle and tongue – beneficial for breastfeeding and weaning
- Increases cognitive development stimulates senses
- Encourages independence
- Can alleviate trapped wind and soothe colic
- Helps develop babies sense of touch
- Develops mind and body awareness and co-ordination
- Regulates and strengthens digestive system, respiratory system and stimulates circulatory system
- Aids overall development
As you can see theres plenty of reasons for babies to spend some time whilst awake playing on their tummy.
Tummy time is a proven method of increasing cognitive development and gross motor development and should be practiced from birth.
Our next blog will give you some handy hints on how to incorporate tummy time into your daily routine for different age groups and how to support your baby during this time.
If you need any further support with this information please do join our baby group on Facebook linked here – https://www.facebook.com/groups/onlinebabyfun
Looking forward to seeing you in a class soon
Founder of Beautiful New Beginnings
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism is a word that’s used a lot these days and diagnosis of ASD have increased dramatically over the previous ten years.
The Autism Organisation https://www.autism.org.uk/ state that there are around 700,000 people diagnosed in England, a rate of around every 1 in 100 people.
The Autism Organisation defines Autism as,
‘a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.’
It is important to remember that Autism is a spectrum disorder, and that on this spectrum, individuals will be affected differently There may be some common traits that those with autism share, but those individuals may feel the effects of their autism very differently.
Many parents worry about whether their children will have a learning disability as well as their autism and again, every child is different. What we do know however is that with the right help and support, all children are capable of living a happy, satisfying life, and all are capable of learning and making progress.
For many parents, it is a difficult and long process to begin the exploration of whether their child has autism. Here is the definition taken again from the Autism Organisation
The characteristics of autism vary from one person to another, but in order for a diagnosis to be made, a person will usually be assessed as having had persistent difficulties with social communication and social interaction and restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviours, activities or interests since early childhood, to the extent that these “limit and impair everyday functioning“. Autism Org.
There are many typical behaviours,
- Lack of understanding in social situations
- Not understanding tone/sarcasm
- Very literal understanding of language
- Unable to read facial expressions
- Fixations on certain conversations
- One way speech and conversation, not taking into account what others say
- Echlolalia – repeating what has been said ‘parrot fashion.’
- May be overwhelmed in social situations, appear to need time alone
- Socially awkward
- Seemingly insensitive of others feelings
- Repetitive behaviours
- Highly focussed interests/Obsessions
- Hyper or Hypo sensitivity to sensory input
These commonalities may be present in your child, but remember, this list is not exhaustive and your concerns can always and should always be discussed with a healthcare professional. It may be that your child is monitored as many of these commonalities can also be age appropriate and developmental too.
If you do think there are concerns about your child’s development please reach out to us at
Beautiful New Beginnings
Heres the link for our group
We are a group of fully qualified SEND teachers supporting parents and children and would welcome you as part of our group
Troublesome Teething, those troublesome teeth can cause all manner of problems for our little ones and some suffer more than others! For those little ones who struggle, teething can be a horrible time, but fortunately it does not last forever! This stage too shall pass.
Teething or, ‘cutting teeth,’ is the process in which an infants first teeth often known as milk teeth, ‘cut through,’ the gums. Teeth typically arrive in pairs and usually with the bottom two front teeth cutting first. Teeth typically start appearing around 6-10 months of age though teething symptoms may be there from around three months.
A child will have twenty teeth, which can take several years to erupt with children typically having all of their first teeth by age 3.
Although the process is known as ‘cutting teeth,’ when teeth emerge, they do not actually cut through the flesh. Instead, hormones are released that cause some cells in the gums to die and separate and this allows the teeth to come through. Symptoms of teething are usually worse 5 days before teeth come through.
So what are the common signs of teething
- Chewing on hands and toys
- Pulling ears
- Rosy cheeks
- Irritability, pain or discomfort
- Being off food and drink
- Nappy Rash
What can you do to support teething?
- Provide cold soothing teething rings
- Put a sterile clean flannel that’s been soaked and squeezed until its damp in a bag in the freezer. It’ll provide a ready made teething aid.
- Medicated teething gels can help
- Provide hard toys for gnawing and chewing
If your child has a raised temperature, this is not often a sign of teething. Please seek medical support if this persists. Many childhood infections can occur that can be mistaken for teething. If in doubt, always seek the advice of a medical professional.
Home Schooling and how to support your child, read on and take the Home School Health Check!
I can’t work, I’m hungry!’
‘Mum, no offense, but I need a professional to teach me!’
‘No, I can’t do it today, I’m rubbish, I don’t get it.’
Sound familiar? We’ve heard from many parents during this period about the ‘joys’ of home schooling. From the ups of discovering new arts and craft activities to the downs of having to Google what a fronted adverbial is.
Did you know that it’s not just your child and family having these conversations? We all have basic needs that need to be attended to first before we can even think of home schooling. Abraham Maslow famously wrote about the hierarchy of needs that underpin everything we do – children and parents alike.
Physiological needs – there is such a thing as being ‘hangry’. Kids are unlikely to engage if they their basic needs are not met. This is why schools have breakfast clubs. Likewise, as a parent you are not going to be able to concentrate if you need the loo, or are tired.
Safety needs – your child is unlikely to be ready to learn if they have just been yelled at. Home schooling needs to feel supportive and an environment where it is safe to make mistakes. Likewise you probably won’t be able to give home schooling your best shot if you are worried and thinking about how you are going to pay the bills or what will happen after the furlough scheme ends.
Love / belonging needs – We all need to feel part of a team to perform at our best. To be loved and feel belong is a basic human need. So your sulky pre-teen is going to need a bit of time to readjust after being sent to their room. And as a parent, you are not going to be your home schooling best if you have had a bust-up with the other half.
Esteem needs – Children need to believe that they have capability. Plenty of praise and encouragement helps. Likewise, when we scroll through parenting groups it’s hard not to feel in competition with other parents on home schooling. Be kind to yourself, and know that you are doing your best.
Self-actualisation – all of the magic comes together at the top of the pyramid. When all of the basic needs are met, your child is ready to learn, and you are in a position to give home schooling your best shot.
We are currently working on packages to support the most challenging of these needs – around how to motivate your child, build their self-esteem and resilience in the face of challenges.
In conclusion, remember the occasional INSET day is OK, and your job in this situation is to parent, rather than teach. We are reliably informed that baking a cake on an off day counts as Food Technology and Maths; and that gin is the answer to home schooling. Cheers.
Please get in touch if you need any help.