Oils, oils, oils.
Now you have decided to practice Baby Massage with your baby, but the question is: do you use oil? And if so what kind of oil do you use? This question is not as simple as you might think as there have been some confusion as well as conflicting views and inconsistent advice from health professionals. So I am going to try and break it down as simply as possible.
But before I do this, I would like to point out that Baby Massage is practised in many different cultures all around the world and each culture has their own tradition and oil preference. So, what I am sharing with you today is not which oil is right and which oil is wrong. Rather, I want to give you information about different oils and I share with you the oil that I use and recommend in my classes.
I will start this blog will sharing that I (and other baby massage instructors) will advise against any use of oil on your baby's skin until your baby is at least 6 weeks old.
#Mineraloil is a clear and odorless oil made from highly refined, purified and processed petroleum. It can help to reduce water loss from the skin and therefore keep the skin hydrated. However, mineral oil is not absorbed by the skin and acts more like a barrier. This can make it difficult for the skin the breathe. It also lack any #vitamins that are beneficial for your skin. I would therefore not advice to use mineral oil on your baby's skin.
#Oliveoil is derived from olives. It is packed with nutrients and some of these may be beneficial for the skin. Olive oil was often named as the best oil option for babies and often used to treat conditions such as cradle cap. However, olive oil contains oleic acid and new research has shown that oleic acid actually delays the recovery of the skin barrier on damaged skin. Therefore, a lot of people now avoid olive oil on their baby's skin.
#Sunfloweroil is derived from sunflower seeds. It is easily absorbed into the skin, packed with nutrients and low in oleic acid. It has barely any taste and it is not harmful for your baby when it is ingested by your baby. On the flip side a study done by the University of Manchester concluded that the use of sunflower oil can delay the development of the skin barrier function in new born babies. However, there is no evidence that sunflower oil is harmful for the skin of babies over 4 weeks old. This makes sunflower oil often the preferred choice of baby massage instructors.
#Coconutoil is derived from coconuts. At room temperature the oil is solid and when heated it will soften or even melt. Coconut oil has a high content of lauric acid which was found to be effective at blocking the growth of bacteria. Recent studies have shown that coconut oil is a good moisturiser for the skin and like sunflower oil it is not harmful when ingested by your baby. Due to these findings coconut oil is also a popular oil when it comes to baby massage. When opting for coconut oil, it is suggested to use a natural and organic coconut oil like #LucyBee, #Kokos or #VitaCoco (none of them are sponsored).
When it comes to using oil on your baby's skin, it is advised to stay away from nut oils. Your baby may have an allergy to nuts and the use of nut oil on your baby's skin can, in the that case, have harmful side effects on your baby.
#Essentialoils are compounds extracted from plants. The oils capture the plant's scent and flavour, or "essence."
Essential oils are very strong and should be avoided on newborn skin. From the age of 3 months you can start using some essential oils, however the use of essential oils on babies and children should be supervised by a qualified aromatherapist.
That last thing that I want to touch base on is sunscreen, as I know this is a common question asked by parents.
It is advised not to use any sunscreen up till the age of 6 months. Babies under the age of 6 months are advised to be kept out of the sun. Your baby's skin is very delicate and their skin barriers aren't fully developed yet. Therefore both the exposure to sun and sunscreen can be harmful for your baby's skin. When you use sunscreen after 6 months pick a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply sunscreen generously to your baby's exposed skin, and reapply every two hours — or more often if your baby is spending time in the water. But just be aware it is still better for you baby to spend time in the shade rather than out in the sun.
What do I use in my classes?
In my classes I either use Organic pressed
sunflower seed oil or coconut oil as both are safe and work really well.
But again, when a baby under the age of 6 weeks comes and joins my class I advise the mum not to use any oil.
So, what to do when your baby isn't 6 weeks but you want to massage your baby? There are 2 things you can do.
1. Do the massage over your baby's clothes.
2. Do the massage on your baby's skin without oil.
Let me know if this blog was helpful and what else you would like me write about.
Love, Daphne x