I’ve never stopped to record it, but I’m pretty sure baby legs just never stop moving. They always seems to be kicking, stretching, wiggling … and then comes the crawling, standing, bouncing, walking, running, running, running (did I mention running?) So, picking up from last week’s article about infant massage basics and some routines for the feet, I continue this month’s infant massage series by moving on up to those always-on-the-go legs and hips.
- Warm some oil in your hands
- Start by resting your hands lightly but firmly on baby’s thighs
- Begin with “Indian Milking” on one leg. Hold baby’s ankle in one hand and mold your other hand around baby’s thigh. Pull the hand around the thigh toward the ankle and then in one smooth motion bring the ankle hand up to the thigh and repeat. Do this several times over. Envision climbing a rope if you want to get an idea of the motion your hands should be making. As you do this motion the “inside hand” should come up to the inside of the thigh and move down while the “outside hand” should come all the way up to baby’s bottom and then move down – you want to slide your hand slightly under baby’s hips and along the outside and bottom of the leg.
- Place your hands around baby’s thigh so that where your thumbs and index fingers meets are facing upward. Gently twist your hands outward and away from each other as you slide down the leg. While you do this, gently squeeze. (In older children whose legs have grown – do this on the lower leg only)
- This is a nice point to add in the foot routine you learned last week!
- Starting at the top of the thigh place your flat hands on either side of baby’s leg and roll the leg back and forth between your hands. (picture making a playdough snake – only the playdough are those chubby little baby legs!) Continue doing this as your hands slide to the ankle. Repeat – this one is so much fun!
- Repeat on the second leg.
- Place your hands around baby’s bottom with your hands underneath baby. Hold here for a moment and gently rock your hands back and forth.
- Now slide your hands under baby’s bottom down around and out. Repeat several times. Picture your cupped hands drawing a heart shape to envision the motion you are going for.
- Now continue with the beginning of the previous motion but slide your hands all the way down to the ankles. Then up to the bottom, under and all the way down again. This will incorporate the entire hip and leg region.
- Bicycle legs: Holding baby’s lower legs in your hands move baby’s knees toward the belly, alternating legs so that it looks like baby is riding a bike.
- Holding lower legs again bring the ankles together and gently bring both knees to one side of baby’s body stretching the hips. Repeat in the other direction.
- Working one leg at a time, bring baby’s knee across the belly toward the opposite shoulder.
- Bring both knees together up toward the tummy and gently press while rocking side to side (This is an awesome gas reliever!)
- Toes to the nose: alternating legs, bring baby’s knee out and toes up to touch the nose. This one is fun if you make a game of it and grab the toes and say “toes …” touch the nose “to the nose!” (My son, to this day, cracks up at this and points out if I’ve forgotten it!)
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