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!
The effects of Stress on Brain Development
The effects of stress on the developing brain is something that has been highly researched and more evidence comes to light each day.
Here’s what we know about the effects of stress on our babies and children.
Some stresses are GOOD
The brain needs a certain level of stress in order to healthily develop, and some stresses are better than others. We experience the stress of meeting new people, of tests, of going somewhere new for the first time, these types of stress are good for our brains and help us to prepare our brains for future life. We absolutely cannot protect our babies and children from all stresses in life, but we can protect them or support them I dealing with bad stresses.
Bad stresses can also be described as toxic stresses. Toxic stresses include neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse and these can cause the brain to become stunted in its development. Bad stress can also cause health problems, addiction and mental health problems in future life.
In order to prepare or help to support our children’s brains effectively, we must expose them to ‘good stresses,’ whilst protecting them from bad stresses that can negatively impact development.
Executive Function and Self Regulation
The brain can be likened to a busy watch tower, the air traffic control has to prevent collisions and the brain has the same job. Children need to be able to self regulate, that is to calm, themselves down, to manage their emotions, to know and understand the tools and techniques they need to use to calm themselves. However it is simply not enough in a moment of anger and rage to tell a child to, ‘calm down.’ Instead as parents and caregivers, we must talk through and teach the strategies used to effectively ‘calm down.’ We simply cannot expect our children to know how to do this without being taught.
Children cannot build their brain on their own, they need support and this comes in all shapes and sizes. From caregivers, from parents, from family members, from strong societies and communities. It is our mission at Beautiful New Beginnings to create Generations of Holistically well children and to do this we must support our parents in their own education, knowledge and understanding of child development. We as a community will not see generations of holistically well children develop if our understanding of brain development does not reach our parents. When children’s healthy brain development is promoted and championed, when we gain greater understanding of how to build a healthy brain we will effectively build a brighter future for us all.
If you would like support in building a secure attachment and healthy baby brain in a welcoming, friendly and play based space, join our group – online classes for little ones.
We cant wait to meet you.
A babies digestive system
The digestive system, or rather problems with digestion, is one of the key reasons parents choose to join a baby massage class.
Here’s some facts about your babies digestive system which you may find interesting
Digestion as many of us already know starts in the mouth. A babies tongue is larger, with extra fat pads that help with sucking. A babies larynx (voice box) is higher and the epiglottis lies over the soft palate to provide extra airway protection.
The saliva glands of a newborn baby are not fully developed until around three months old.
The babies oesophagus is 11cm long.
In terms of stomach volume and feeding here are some interesting facts.
On day one of birth, a babies stomach can hold less than 1oz.
On day 5-6 it holds around 1.6 oz
On day 10 it holds 10 oz
The volume of capacity of a babies stomach increases rapidly during the first year.
A babies bowels are existent 1 hour after birth and when newborn, a babies small intestine is around 250-300cm long
The colon is sterile at birth.
Bacteria is essential for the formation of Vitamin K and within hours of birth in the colon, ecoli, clostridium and streptocoveaus are established.
It is essential that a baby passes its first movement – meconium, within 24 hours of birth and the hospital will monitor this.
A babies digestive system is delicate and often immature post birth. Massage can help sooth digestive discomforts by stretching out the abdomen, by helping the movement of fluid round the digestive system, by helping to ease tension and by gently supporting bowel movements.
Baby massage can support the development of a healthy digestive system and can be practiced from birth.
Please join our group – Online Baby Classes for further information and support.
Beautiful New Beginnings
Baby Massage and the Circulatory System
A babies circulatory system can be effectively supported through regular baby massage sessions. Here’s some interesting facts about your little ones circulatory system that will help your understanding.
Babies have around 1.5 pints of blood in their bodies – adults have around 7-8 pints of blood.
Our circulatory system supplies oxygen, nutrients and carries carbon dioxide and waste products out.
Pre birth, the placenta supplies all major nutrients and oxygen to the baby. It is your babies life support machine. If the placenta has been the babies life support machine for the last nine months, it is important to practice delayed cord clamping. Often at birth, a third of our babies blood can actually be outside of our babies body and actually housed in the placenta. For this reason, delayed cord clamping is something that is very beneficial for your little one. Delayed cord clamping is simply allowing the umbilical cord to stop pulsating before being clamped. In doing this, we allow time for the transfer of blood, O2 and nutrients to cross the placenta into baby and increases blood volume.
At birth a large amount of blood is sent to the babies lungs to pick up Oxygen. Babies are often born with blue hands and feet and this can be a sign of an immature circulatory system. It is not normal for a babies lips or tongue to appear blue and help must be sought immediately if this is the case.
Baby massage supports the circulatory system and using our hands, we massage each area of our babies body to support the circulation to that area. Massage provides an almost full body work out to our babies and we help to increase blood pressure and move the blood around the body more effectively. We encourage blood coming to the surface of babies body and this helps deliver nutrients and oxygen round babies body.
If you are interested in learning more about baby massage and the techniques and tools used to massage your little one, please join our group, Online Baby Classes.
Beautiful New Beginnings
Baby Bonding and Brain Development
At the top of the list for child development and the development of a healthy brain is secure attachments. Children need strong attachments to atleast one primary caregiver and without them, babies and children will fail to meet many of their milestones.
There are a number of common misconceptions regarding bonding and attachment the first being that you can spoil your babay and make a ‘rod for your own back.’ Babies and children have their own thoughts and feelings and it is up to us as parents to help them to internalize these emotions and make sense of them. Indeed there is much research to suggest that children with secure attachments do better in life across the board.
The early experiences our babies have, have the potential to change the architecture of the brain. The first two years of a childs life and those early experiences impact and influence their entire lives. Babies are emotion magnets and they rely on their caregivers for this stability.
But what happens if our children are not securely attached?
Children who have insecure attachments to parents or carers, for whatever reason, tend to explore less, their play is immature, they are less well developed academically and cognitively. Children with insecure attachments may struggle to make friends and are significantly less emotionally developed. They may in the future develop marriage difficulties and parenting their own children may be more difficult too.
So how do we create strong attachments?
Caregivers can make their children’s attachments more secure by doing a number of things
- Become an expert at reading your child’s cues. Children need to know when they are off exploring they can come back to you for support and reassurance. This is called social referencing
- Children need to know they can come to you if they are hurt, ill happy etc for comfort and reassurance. Always be ready to cuddle and reassure
- Respond to cues and needs – you cannot spoil a baby if you respond when your baby signals a need then your baby will be comforted and this builds a strong attachment.
Building secure attachments is vital for building healthy brains and a child’s first educator is its parents. Let us help and support you on your parenting journey with classes and courses tailored to your needs. You would be so welcome!
Cal and the BNB Team
Baby bonding and Attachment
Bonding with your baby is one of the easiest things to do and one of the most natural in many senses. Bonding and Attachment is also vital for your baby as they grow and develop. You see brains are both born and built. Our brain as it is born is functioning and is able to navigate our basic bodily functions, it regulates breathing, sight, feeding, and we are born with many reflexes which also support this. However, healthy brains are also built, and what we do with our babies in the early days, months and years, helps build a strong and healthy brain.
Bonding and attachment is key to building a strong brain and creating firm foundations for which al other skills are learnt. And you’ll be pleased to know it’s not difficult to do. Bonding with your baby and creating a secure attachment simply means in the early days to meet your babies needs. Though this may seem constant, draining and sometimes relentless, creating a secure attachment is based on responding to your babies cues and needs. If your baby cries, it is usually for one of a couple of reasons and your job, as parent or caregiver, is to meet those needs.
Reasons babies cry
- Wet/dirty nappy
- Need a cuddle
- Uncomfortable or in pain – ie wind, colic, teething
It is our job as caregivers to work out our babies needs and respond appropriately and whilst this sometimes feels like trying to work out a jigsaw puzzle, this is exactly what we must do. The good news is that based on the research that meeting our babies needs helps to form strong, secure attachments; this means we now know we cannot spoil our babies. Based on this research, u=you cannot spoil a newborn by meeting their needs, you will not ‘make a rod for your own back,’ by cuddling and comforting them and you certainly won’t end up with a baby that is needy or clingy like many old wives tales suggest. By meeting your babies needs you create a strong and secure attachment with them which leads to healthy brain development.
There are some other key ways of building strong attachments with your little one and heres a couple. We need serve and return interactions. That is interactions which adult and baby engage in, for example
- Eye contact
- Touch – eg baby massage
Activities like these will help build interaction and this in turn creates the building blocks for future development.
For more information on bonding and attachment please see our online baby classes group which promotes strong interactions for building healthy brains from birth.