Baby massage has been an age-old ritual. If you are a new mom, you surely have been advised by the elders of your house about the indisputable benefits of massaging your baby regularly with baby oil.
Massaging is very essential for the proper growth and development of your baby. But what about the composition of the baby oils? You must be concerned about what kind of chemicals would your baby’s delicate skin be exposed to. However, you need not worry anymore.
In this article, we will find out what is baby oil made of and what effect do they have on the health of your baby.
Why Is Massaging Important For Babies?
Before we discuss what is baby oil made of, it is important for us to understand why massaging is essential for babies. You must have heard from other mothers and grandmothers or even in television commercials about the importance of massaging babies. Let’s dive a little deeper into the facts to clarify any question that might pop up in your mind.
For newborn babies and infants, non-verbal communication plays a major role in their overall development. Every time you caress them, your loving touch can make them feel the affection you want to convey to them. They will feel safe, secured and nurtured. This wordless interaction between you and your little bundle of joy will help to strengthen the bond that you two share.
Thus, every massage session brings you the priceless opportunity to bond with your baby and make them feel the unconditional love you have for them. It is a great way to connect more closely with the baby and build up the much-needed trust between the mother and her child.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Baby Massages?
Just like Baby Food, Baby massages are beneficial to your baby’s physical health in various ways.
Regular massages will help your baby relax more and induce deep sleep in them. Improved sleep aids in a faster rate of growth in infants. It also helps your baby to feel calm and cared for.
International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) have proved that regular body massages in babies help to stimulate blood flow and improve their circulatory system. This helps in the healthy and better development of their growing organs.
Baby oil massaging also has a beneficial effect on the baby’s digestive system. It helps to prevent cramps and constipation and also provides relief from gas built-up and colic pain.
It is observed that massage can have a soothing effect on teething discomfort in babies.
What Is Baby Oil Made Of?
Baby oils are usually made from two basic formulations: Mineral oils or Vegetable oils. Usually, commercially available baby oils are composed of 98% mineral oil and 2% fragrance.
1. Mineral Oils
Mineral oils in the baby oils are a highly purified version of mineral oil products such as petroleum jelly or liquid paraffin. They are inert and do not have any adverse reactions with other compounds. These oils are tasteless and do not have any odour. These are safe on the baby’s skin as they are dermatologically tested and approved. They are non-allergenic.
Mineral oils are hydrophobic in nature and form a thin layer on the baby’s skin when applied. This layer acts as a barrier on the skin and retains its moisture. This helps to keep your baby’s skin soft and supple.
Mineral oils used in baby oils are highly refined and light in weight. They won’t clog the pores on your skin and facilitate free breathing of the baby’s delicate skin and also hydrate their skin.
2. Aloe Vera
Many baby oils have aloe vera extracts in them. This herbal component which is often used in various cosmetic products has a lot of benefits. They act as a natural skin conditioner. Aloe vera enriched oils also have anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Your baby’s skin is very delicate and can easily get damaged by excessive sunlight, heat and due to other harsh conditions. This can cause skin burns and rashes. The baby oils with aloe vera are formulated to soothe the skin rashes. They also have a cooling effect on skin burns. It has certain qualities of enzymes in it, which helps in reducing inflammation and provides relief from discomfort. Aloe vera extracts in baby oil are also proven to soothe dry skin.
3. Vitamin E
Baby oils also have Vitamin E infused in them. It is one of the nutrients necessary for healthy skin. It is an antioxidant that helps to fight against damage-causing free-radicals in the skin and neutralizes their effect. It has also shown some anti-inflammatory properties. According to some research, it is also suggested that Vitamin E promotes faster wound healing and can also prevent various skin infections and other ailments. It can also provide temporary comfort from itchiness.
4. Herbal Alternatives
Baby oils can also be based on vegetable oil. Some of the common herbal oils chosen are: Olive oil, Almond oil, Tea tree oil, Chamomile oil, and Calendula oil. If you are willing to choose herbal oil for massaging your baby, it would be a good idea to consult with your pediatrician first. Though herbal oils have the least side effects, some babies may develop allergies from some specific oil. Thus, it’s advisable to always test which oils suit your baby’s skin type before starting to use any.
Every baby has a different skin type. Knowing what is baby oil made of helps you to select the best option for your baby that is compatible with their skin. Let’s find out what are the benefits that the herbal oils bring to us.
a. Olive Oil
Olive oil has a lot of beneficial properties. It is loaded with antioxidants and also contains Vitamin E and Vitamin K. It also has a high percentage of linoleic acid which is good for the skin. It helps to soothe inflammation and burns.
But baby oils containing olive oil is detrimental for dry skin, cracked skin or if your baby has eczema.
b. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is known to have medicinal as well as disinfectant properties and can also be used as a home remedy for various ailments. It’s a natural antibacterial agent and helps in treating skin infections. It is also effective in cases of minor wounds, insect bites, and diaper rashes in babies. It is proven to kill many harmful microbes. Tea tree oil can also be used to treat ringworm in babies.
But the use of tea tree oil sometimes had shown cases of allergies in babies. It would be smart to check with your pediatrician once before you use it.
c. Almond Oil
Almond oil is one of the widely chosen plant-based oils used for baby massages. It is enriched with both Vitamin A and Vitamin E and other minerals. It provides relief from cradle caps, eczema and other rashes. It is also very good for baby’s bones as it contains potassium and calcium. Almond oil keeps skin soft and nourished.
d. Chamomile Oil
Chamomile oil also has multiple health benefits for newborns and infants. Massaging with it helps relieve colic discomforts, bloating and even constipation. It has a great soothing effect on babies and helps them sleep peacefully. This oil also has anti-inflammatory properties which help in cases of minor rashes and skin irritation.
e. Calendula Oil
Calendula oil is known for its anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory as well as antiseptic properties. It is helpful in treating eczema and diaper rashes in babies. It helps in healing wounds faster and provides soothing relief to wounds and skin burns.
You can also concoct your own homemade baby oil. You can look up the recipe on the Internet and have your own version of baby oil with all the desired properties. This way you won’t have to worry about what is baby oil made of and will be sure of the ingredients your baby is being exposed to.
What To Keep In Mind While Massaging With Baby Oil?
Now that we know what baby oil is made of, there are certain things that you must always keep in mind while massaging your baby with baby oil.
- Do not use too hot or too cold oil for massaging. Bring it to an optimum temperature before applying.
- Too much pressure can be bad for the baby’s bone and muscle formation. Try to maintain a firm but soothing pressure while massaging.
- Take the help of a trusted family member to learn the proper technique of massage. Improper ways can be harmful to your baby.
- Always check the expiry date before you pick any baby oil from the store. Also, try to avoid storing a large amount of baby oil in your home for a long time. It may turn rancid.
- NEVER put oil in the baby’s nose or ears. It can be dangerous!
Your baby deserves the best. So, before you pick a baby oil for the little one, some research can be helpful to understand your baby’s needs.
Spend some time every day massaging your baby and make use of the wonderful bonding time. It won’t last long. Your baby will grow up in the blink of an eye. Enjoy the moments and share your love!