Baby Massage case studies

Case Study 1

Family K (I have used the first letter of their surname, due to data protection)

The massage took place at their home at 1pm on Thursday 4th October, baby A is 18 months old and lives with mum dad, sister and two brothers. The siblings all attend the local primary school with their ages ranging from year 6 (10 and 11 year olds to year two 6-7 years olds)

During the session it was just myself, my doll,mum,baby A and the dog (who was in another room).

I asked mum what she hoped to get out of the massage, which she replied ‘to help relax baby A as she is always on the go.” I advised her of some of the benefits of baby massage, these range from bonding, quality time together to pain relief, for things like colic, digestion and sinus pain.

Mum also mentioned that one of her boys may benefit from massage, as he gets very anxious. Mum believes his anxieties may have stemmed from when she was rushed to hospital.

He now never wants to be apart from mum and resists going to school every morning. Mum described mornings like a war zone. I advised her that although this is called baby massage it can be used on older children and would help both mum and child relax and re-build any bond that needs to be re-established.

When I arrived baby A was just coming round from a sleep. Mum advised me that she was very sorry and that she would be ok in a moment.

I advised her it was not a problem as I had an extra doll for her to use and I could explain the massage and actions to her using the doll.

We started by asking the doll/baby for permission to massage, mum had a giggle and asked why we should do this, I advised her it’s so that baby can get used to a familiar word that she would recognise as Massage/relax time. I also told her that if she were to keep the surroundings,baby mat,towel and potentially any smell (maybe the oil) the same, the baby will also recognise that this is relax time.

We then started the massage routine, by firstly using the swooping motion from the child head through to her toes, making sure that we did not touch the face. At this point I told mum that this is fine to do fully clothed and it was just to ensure that the baby was happy for us to continue.

From there we went to the arms, I said to mum at this point we would remove the top layers, and normally we would apply 50p worth of oil, we then had the discussion about which oils to use. I advised her that Olive oil used to be recommended but there has been a study stating that this could be too abrasive fo babies skin and therefore Grapeseed oil is a good alternative. However, she could use something as simple as Sunflower oil.

At this point A decided that she wanted all the babies, including all of hers and also mine!

So we took this as a natural break to discuss the benefits in more depth and mum asked how would she adjust it for her older children, I advised the only real adjustment would be to ensue that the surrounding were relaxed (no children charging about) potentially more oil and the child would need to want it to be done as it could be more harm than good making him lie there, when he was resistant.

After that, Baby A had lost interest in the Daphne (my doll) and gave it to mum and I had a teddy, which was fine as this still enabled me to show mum, the remaining routine.

At the end of the massage I gave mum a handout that I had made and told her that we had carried out Arms and Legs and then next week we will continue with the chest and abdominal.

We have booked next week for 11am.

Self reflection

Although the massage was carried out, it may have been more beneficial for me to have taken toys with me to distracted baby A from playing with the dolls.

Session 2

I arrived at 11am and baby A had just woken from a morning nap, mum was really apologetic, I told her not too worry about it, these things happen and we can carry out the massage on my doll.

I advised her that we would recap on what we had carried out last week and then introduce the new movements after. Baby A then wanted to join in so, I showed her how to massage her baby’s hands and A joined in.

Mum advised at this point, that she had tried massage out on A after bath time, sometimes she enjoyed it and then other times she really disliked it- I told mum not to push it and it has to be done under A’s terms.

We proceeded by asking if it was ok to massage and then started the process by swooping the baby and then recapping on the arms and legs massage, from last week.

Once we had finished this we then proceeded to massage the Chest area. The first movement was a to almost dive into the chest with the hand in a prayer like motion and then opening them up over the chest apply a small amount of pressure. This motion would be carried out three or four time (which ever feels comfortable for baby)

From there, we went onto crisscross motion, starting from one side of the baby’s chest to the opposite shoulder and then swoop your hand down over the opposite arm, again repeat this 3 or 4 times.

From there we went to the abdomen, using your arms in a waterwheel motion (scooping sand) gently massaging the abdomen. Then using small clockwise motions we massaged the colon which helps with digestion (this sometimes is referred to the I Love You massage) from there you then massage the top corners of the colon in a clockwise motion. Mum struggled using both fingers in a clockwise motion at the same time, i advised that she can do one side than the other, but always to ensure that its clockwise and do the same amount on both sides.
We then massaged the colon again using a circular massage motion.

Mum seemed a lot more calmer this week, this could have been due to knowing what was going to happen, not feeling embarrassed if baby A didn’t want to join in or she was just happy to see another adults!

Self reflection

Maybe I could do some pre- teaching, ie tell parents what to expect and ensure they know its not a problem if baby is asleep.


I have asked mum for feedback, unfortunately she has gone on holiday for a couple of weeks, I will forward this once she has returned

Case Study 2

Today I will refer to child T from the E family.

I hadn’t met mum before, she is a local lady with four children three boys and baby T, mum had responded to a Facebook message that I had put out looking for mums who would be up for some massage training in return for me making a case study.

I arrived at the house, where there was mum, mum’s friend, baby T and Lola the dog.  Mum had set the room up ready for the massage, with a nice comfy blanket folded in four which provided comfort for baby T.

I advised mum that the first part of the massage it was fine to  keep baby T clothed, Mum then asked if we would be using oils,  I said that I had baby organic oil and if she is happy to use that we can.  She advised that baby T does have allergic reactions to most oils and that she had one that she would prefer to use that is 98% organic.  I advised mum, just to be careful of the wording on bottles and that some baby products may not absorb into the skin, which means the skin can become very oily.

We started the massage, by asking Baby T if we were allowed to massage her, I explained the importance of this and that by asking the baby or using a key word, baby will always recognise that with relaxing time and would be aware of what is going to happen,

Mum kept baby T fully clothed at this point, we asked permission and then started with the swooping.

From there we started on the arms and hands, at this point I advised mum that she could keep baby T clothed, but she would find it more beneficial for her arms and legs to be exposed.  I advised mum that this would be the time to apply oil to her hands and that she would need a 50p size amount of oil and to apply it to her hands to the side of the baby ( as not to drop any over baby T) mum then proceeded to rub the oil into her hands.  At this point I advised that if she were to rub her hands in opposite direction this would be less of a noise and would not alarm T.

We started with the Milking of the arms and told mum that the non massaging hand should be supporting the arm.

From there we went to circling with the thumb on the wrist, to ensure baby T’s skin wasn’t getting dry. After that, we went to stroking the palms with the thumbs, baby T had her hands clenched at this point,  so I advised mum to rub the top of her hand and the fingers should automatically open, which they did.  Once that had been completed I advised mum to hold T hands together across her chest, so she could associate that the arm massaging had finished.

Once we had done that, we went on to the legs and feet, mum was really relaxed and baby T was gurgling in a playful manner – I believe telling us that she was enjoying it.

I advised mum that she may want to undo the poppers on T’s vest, so we could get to the top of the legs and also that she may want to apply more oil to her hands,

We ran through the legs and feet movements, which mum was very confident with as this kind of mimic’s the arms and hand movements.  What I found amazing was when mum was stroking the soles of T’s feet with her thumb, baby T was silent, just led there, with no noise – you could almost here a pin drop – to me that made my day as it was proof that baby T was enjoying it.

When we had finished I thanked mum for her time and advised her that I really appreciate her letting me go around to her house.   At this point she mentioned that her son gets bad legs, he suffers from tightness in his calf muscles.  I advised that there would be no harm in her trying these movements on him.

we have arranged to do session 2 at 9.30 next Friday

Session 2

I arrived at 9.30am as agreed. Today it was just myself, mum, Baby T and Lola the dog.  Again mum had very kindly set up the room with a thick blanket for T to lie on and the oil was already by the side of the blanket.

I asked mum how T was after last week, she advised that T had slept for a good two hours after her massage.

Today we recapped on what we had done last week (The arms and legs) which mum was very confident with and then I asked mum if she would prefer to do T’s Abdomen and chest or back and face.  Mum asked what the advantages were, this is where I advised that the abdomen would help with easing digestion, the chest would help with easing any phlegm the face would help with sinus’s and the back would contribute to her gross motor skills development.

Mum opted for the back and face.  I asked mum to roll part of T’s blanket into a sausage so that T had somewhere to rest her head, mum placed T face down, where T very confidently managed to hold her head (I found this amazing for such a young baby).

We started with the back and forth motion using nice reassuring strokes along T’s back, T was gurgling as much to say, “Mum I’m enjoying that!” From there we went on to circling in a spiral motion from the head down through the back.

Baby T was becoming a bit fractious, I asked mum if she wanted to stop but all T wanted was her dummy!  I asked if we were ok to carry on mum said, “yeah it was fine’.  From here we went on to the combing massage.  We did this by using the pads of our fingers and used a combing motion from the head down through the back.

Once we had completed that I advised mum that we then do the swooping motion as we did when we started. Once we had finished, I advised that mum could wrap T in a blanket and give her a hug and when ready we will move on to the face.

The face, I told mum that at any point we were not to cover the eyes as we need baby T to see mum and not frighten her unnecessarily and that if she wanted to cover T up and get her warm, comfortable and snug, she may fall asleep.

So we started from the side of baby T’s face using an open the book motion  i.e. your hands are a closed book that you open going from the forehead around to the cheeks.  We then proceeded to big eye little eye – this is where you circle the eyes in big circles and then smaller circles, the smaller circles are to go over the eyebrows and just under the eyes.  Baby T was just dropping off to sleep at this point but seemed to be enjoying it so we carried on.

We then went on circling the cheeks to encourage the sucking reflex, whilst T slept and from there we used circling motions from the ears to the chin to drain the lymph nodes.

At this point, normally we would then cuddle and massage T’s scalp, but I advised mum to leave her to sleep and showed mum how to massage the scalp on the doll.

I then said to mum, I had a hand out that I could give her, with al the actions listed, but I had left this in the car.

Self reflection

Be prepared – i.e. leaving the handout in the car and also laminate it or put in a plastic wallet as it was raining – not very professional!


Well what can i say Sarah really is a lovely welcoming lady and is a pleasure to talk with and has been amazing by helping me do baby massage on my daughter and she’s loved it to the point she decided that she was so relaxed and fell asleep. Sarah had taken us step by step through the baby massage witch really helped i would highly recommend Sarah with baby massage classes she truly is amazing thank you so much for allowing me and my daughter to participate along with you 

Thank you x x