Updated: Nov 20
I'll let you in to a little secret. If you are buying a bottle labelled 'baby massage oil' the chances are you have been won over by excellent marketing. Your prize? Often paying over the odds and possibly even using unnecessary products on your baby's delicate skin. The baby business is booming and baby massage oil is no exception. Many parents begin their journey advised not to put anything other than pure water on their babies' skin, naturally we want to get this right.
So if you want to know which oil is best for baby massage, here are our 4 top tips.
Tip 1 - Look for a Vegetable Oil
The International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) recommend a quality, cold-pressed, preferably organic, vegetable oil. Most vegetable oils are extracted from the fruits or seeds of plants. Vegetable oils may also be classified by grouping oils extracted from similar plants, such as "nut oils“. Cold pressed, or first pressed, mean that the oil hasn't been heavily processed or heated to retain its nutrients. To identify a vegetable oil suitable for massage, start with the ingredients. It should be 100% of your chosen oil and nothing else. Are there ingredients that you don't recognise or understand? Your baby's skin doesn't need them. You can pick up a litre of quality vegetable oil for just a couple of pounds at a health shop or supermarket.
Tip 2 - Avoid Mineral Oil
Popular branded "baby massage oils" are often synthetic or mineral oils. What does this mean? Simply put, mineral oils are a by-product of refining crude oil, which makes gasoline or petrol. Other names for mineral oil include liquid paraffin or liquid petroleum. Baby oil is simply a perfumed mineral oil. Take a look at the ingredients on the back of that bottle you received at your baby shower.... recognise any of the many many words? Your baby's skin doesn't recognise them either and will undergo a long process to eliminate them. Please don't panic if you have used these products, ultimately they have been proven safe, but we are looking for optimum.
Tip 3 - Edible
Keeping tips 1 and 2 in mind, which type of oil would you put on your salad? Now consider the first and favourite place your baby loves to stick their fists and feet! Yep, straight in their mouths. Vegetable oils are safe and non-toxic if ingested. Your baby's body will recognise a vegetable oil and it will be easily absorbed and digested. These oils can contain beneficial nutrients, such as vitamin E, which are good for the skin, and that help prevent rancidity. Which oil is best for baby massage? One you would happily put on your salad!
Tip 4 - Scent Free
We seem to love the idea of putting scents in baby massage oils. Some brands have built their name on their signature smell. Scents, perfumes, essential oils, chemical fragrances can all overpower the most important smell of all - each other. Smell is one of the main elements of bonding and using scents can interfere with the process. We all love that new-born smell, and they love your smell just as much. We don't want to mask it. What's more, essential oils are not suitable for babies delicate skin as they are highly concentrated and can be extremely overstimulating for babies.
Which oil is best for baby massage? The most important thing to remember is that the purpose behind using oil for baby massage is to make your movements smooth and glide on your baby's skin to avoid friction. The goal is nurturing touch. The exact oil parents choose to use will depend on various factors; cultural preference, family tradition, availability and cost. Choose an oil that both you and your baby are happy with. Keep an open mind on oil research, who funded or sponsored the research? Is there wisdom to it? Parents have been massaging their babies with oils for hundreds of years. Use a fresh, natural, pure unscented oil and most importantly, enjoy baby massage together. Students on our Baby Massage Instructor Course learn all about the best oil to use for baby massage and our certified IAIM instructors will share this knowledge with the families they work with.
Connected Babies offer Baby Massage Training / Infant Massage Training in London, Hertfordshire and Kent. Crystal Miles is an International Trainer with the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) ~ Discover more