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Baby massage oils and techniques are great to help develop your baby’s senses and bring you closer together.
Generally, baby massage oils and products are relatively inexpensive and a little should go a long way. Before investing, consider your child’s skin concerns, especially if they have baby eczema or are prone to sensitivity. Patch testing a tiny amount of a new product first can keep any potential adverse reactions to a minimum. Also, remember that not all baby oils available have been designed with massage in mind, and may therefore be too absorbent to be effective in this scenario.
How early you begin massaging your baby will depend on your unique circumstances. And if possible, Emma Nash, founder of baby care brand Tiddley Pom recommends starting as soon as possible.“You can start massaging from birth, but very gently. As the baby grows you can increase your pressure. But at the beginning be exceptionally gentle – more like strokes than pressure moves.” One thing to bear in mind is that NHS guidance states, “Avoid using any oils or lotions until your baby is at least a month old,” which may impact your decision on when to begin baby massage.
In order for both parent and baby to fully reap the relaxing benefits of baby massage techniques, there are times when it to avoid massage. Emma says, “Don’t massage a baby if they are agitated, have a temperature, look or feel unwell. A calm and relaxed baby is best. Also, if they are full of energy and cannot settle then it’s best left until another time.”
While most baby massage oils you are formulated with a blend of oils, you can pick and choose between those with specific ingredients depending on your tastes and your baby’s needs. These include coconut, rosehip and jojoba oils. “Always buy organic if possible, and definitely cold-pressed,” adds Emma.
Best baby massage oils
1. Burt’s Bees Baby 100% Natural Nourishing Baby Oil
This award-winning baby oil ticks all the boxes. It’s 100% natural, paediatrician tested, and super nourishing for baby’s skin. You can either add a capful to baby’s bath or massage into the skin post bath.
With over 2000 reviews this is ‘Amazon’s Choice’ for baby oils. One five star reviewer says; “I was disappointed to receive this and see how small it is. Little did I know this little bottle would last me FOREVER! I use this on my baby’s skin to make her lovely & soft and it smells amazing.”
2. Palmers Cocoa Butter Baby Massage Oil
A gentle and super absorbent oil with vitamin E and paraben free. Promises to soften and protect baby’s skin and touted as ‘ideal for baby massage’ – a double win.
One Amazon five star reviewer says; “I just got it today but already used it on my 3 months old baby for her cradle cap. Bottle has a very useful dispenser. Oil smells fantastic, not overwhelming at all! Smell is not too strong, it is very subtle and very nice. Liquid is not overly oily like baby oil that I used before. Skin seems to absorb it very well. I would definitely recommend it and buy it again.”
3. Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic Baby Massage Oil
A trusted brand as well known for their quality ingredients as for their soothing scents, it’s no surprise that Neal’s Yard’s Organic Baby Massage Oil is 100 per cent organic and hypoallergenic.
One reviewer said, “I grew up with my mum using NY products, and the scent of this oil sent me back down memory lane. Beautiful scent. Beautiful feel.”
4. Kit & Kin Body Oil For Baby
This award-winning baby brand’s strapline is ‘protecting your world, naturally’. And your baby usually fits into that description… your world. This hypoallergenic baby oil has a blend of 12 naturally nourishing oils. Approved by dermatologists it’s made without any harsh chemicals.
Mum-of-two, Jade says; “I use this on my 6 month old son after every bat and it smells beautiful and I swear it calms him, especially when I give him a little foot rub with it. He’s always dozy straight after.”
5. Weleda Calendula Baby Oil
Calendula is well-known for its gentle approach to skin and body care, making it the perfect choice for your baby’s delicate skin. “I’ve been using this product for 4 years now, with my first son and now newborn. Excellent oil for massaging and moisturising,” says one Boots reviewer.
6. Johnson’s Baby Bedtime Oil
This well known brand is in Amazon’s best selling list, hypoallergenic and PH balanced. It’s free from dyes, sulphates and alcohol. It’s dermatologically tested and as gentle to the eyes as water is.
Rituals and routine will help your baby to settle, and a nightly massage is a brilliant way to signify the end of the day. Johnson designed this oil for that very reason, and made sure it was tested with baby experts before bringing it to market.
One Amazon reviewer rated it 5 stars and said: “I’m in that joyous part of life where the baby only sleeps for a few hours at a time, so every minute is precious. We’ve added in this oil and a little massage after bath time and definitely noticed the difference. Whether it’s the Bath, the massage or the smell of the oil that helps, it’s all part of the magic formula that gets an extra half hour of sleep for everyone in this house and therefore our favourite thing at the moment.”
7. Tiddley Pom Organic Massage Oil
As baby massage oils go, this is a glorious blend of Coconut, Kukui, Blackcurrant, Pomegranate and Argan Oils, this comes in an aluminium bottle, with a choice of a reusable pump or screw top for refills. We’d recommend the pump, to minimise the risk of spills.
One reviewer say; “Organic sunflower oil, sprays on easily and works in beautifully without an overpowering scent, absorbed nicely into the skin and left my son’s skin lovely and soft after his bath. Possibly easier to apply to a younger baby than a one year old but I can confirm that not too much dog hair sticks to a small oil covered child as they crawl off into the distance, we have yet to test the effects of a basted toddler on the wooden floor.”
8. Child’s Farm Baby Oil
With over 1,500 reviews on Amazon this is their number one choice, and boasts a 4.7. Out of 5 stars. All natural and organic, the natural plant oils nourish and care for your baby’s skin.
Super light and ultra absorbent this formula is gentle enough for sensitive and eczema prone skin. This lightweight oil is a good choice. One happy customer commented, “Lovely on skin not sticky or too oily. Smells amazing too.” While another said; “Someone else recommended this item to use for baby massage and also to put on my babies scalp to help combat initial signs of cradle cap. And I was impressed! It is easy to apply due to it being in a spray, and smells gorgeous. I would recommend.”
9. Vita Coco – Baby Balm
Credit: AmazonThis 100% natural and cold-pressed balm is paediatrician approved coconut oil is a nourishing balm that will help soothe your baby and moisturise their skin.
Highly rated on Amazon, it’s one of their ‘Amazon’s Choice’ products, with one 5 star rater saying: “Brilliant my 8 month old has very sensitive skin and Eczema this is the best product I’ve brought does his skin wonders will keep buying it was expecting for the price a small pot the size and product is definitely worth the money and smells amazing.”
10. Tisserand Sweet Almond Ethically Harvested Blending Oil
Research from 2020 found that using almond oil on premature babies had a positive effect on the skin’s strength without instigating any kind of reaction or side effects. Loaded with vitamins, minerals and fatty acids, sweet almond oil is also safe to ingest so should one of those cute baby hands end up in the mouth, you know everything’s okay.
Mum-of-two, Jen says: “I not only use this as massage oil for my twins, but I also use it on my skin and hair. It’s a great family oil, with only a slight fragrance.”
11. The Jojoba Company 100% Natural Australian Jojoba Oil
As baby massage oils go, this isn’t a specific ‘baby massage oil’ but can be used as one. With high levels of vitamin E, jojoba oil is a great choice for little ones with sensitive and eczema-prone skin as it has a healing effect. It supports and balances the skin’s natural oils, providing a soothing and nourishing effect.
One buyer left a review: “This oil has really helped my 15 month old grandson who suffers from eczema. We have tried a number of products but this has by far been the most effective. It also has a lovely scent.”
12. PraNaturals 100% Organic Pure Shea Butter
The benefits of shea butter knows no bounds, it’s popular for adults too – it’s in everything from lip balms to body butters. This natural moisturiser is totally safe and extremely nourishing for baby’s sensitive skin.
With over 5,000 ratings and touted as an ‘Amazon’s Choice’ this is 100% natural, vegan friendly and suitable for all skin types it’s also free from perfumes and additives. This makes it a great choice for baby massage oil.
One reviewer says: “It arrived today and I’ve just used it on my 16 month old son who has eczema and my 8 year old daughter who is prone to having very itchy skin on her thighs which also makes her come up in painful heat bumps. So far so good.”
13. Earth Friendly Baby Moisturising Shea Massage Oil
Scented with lavender this organic oil has calendula, chamomile and rose. It’s free from artificial colourings, synthetics and parabens and vegan approved. It’s light and is easily absorbed.
One 5 star reviewer says; “I wasn’t keen on the smell at first but it’s been really good on my baby. Was really good for the peeling skin and even cradle cap. I rub him down with this after a bath and he does drift into a long deep sleep. I also use it on my toddler he can’t wait for his massage after his bath.”
14. Fushi Organic Rosehip Oil
While not suggested as baby oil, organic rosehip oil is recommended baby oil. It is known to help calm redness and irritation so it’s great when baby has a touch of nappy rash or even eczema. It’s high in vitamins A and E and helps to build and strengthen your baby’s delicate skin.
Mum-of-one, Jillian says: “It’s so light and is easily absorbed which is great as I don’t like to hang around after a bath, I like to slather my baby up and get them in their onesie for bed.”
15. My Little Coco Sleepy Head Calming Baby Oil
Created by celebrity and mum-of-three Rochelle Humes. My Little Coco is enriched with organic coconut oil and lightly fragranced with lavender, chamomile and vanilla. Perfect for newborns, babies and children. It’s dermatologically tested, paediatrician approved and suitable for sensitive skin. It’s also vegan and cruelty free.
Mum-of-three, Bex says: “The pump makes it super easy to use and the light smell is divine. It really calms my 6 month old after his bath.”
If you’re nervous about using any of these on your baby, particularly if your child has sensitive skin, go with a dermatologist or doctor-approved product instead.
Best oils for baby massage:
Coconut oils – A 2020 medical study found that applying virgin coconut oil on premature newborns helped strengthen their skin. It can do the same for older babies.
Almond oils – Rich in vitamin E, clinical research from 2020 shows that researchers found using almond oil on premature babies improved their skin’s thickness and strength.
Petroleum jelly – Also known as the brand Vaseline. This choice has been used by mothers through the years. It’s also a good barrier for baby’s skin.
Baby oils – A 2012 medical review showed that, as this is a ‘mineral oil’ it is safe to use on baby’s skin.
Shea butter – A well recognised moisturise among adults, it’s also safe for your baby’s thin skin. Look for pure shea butter that doesn’t have any added perfumes or chemicals.
Jojoba oils – High in vitamin E, this is recommended for babies with eczema because it helps heal the skin. ‘Cold-pressed’ is the best option for massages.
Rosehip oils – This is high in fats that are good for baby’s skin and help build and strengthen it. Rosehip also helps soothe redness and irritation in baby eczema and other skin rashes.
Baby massage oils to avoid;
Olive oils – This has oleic acid in and could cause really dry skin or worsen eczema.
Tea tree oils – This is quite a strong oil and can be harsh on skin, so it should be avoided on babies younger than 6 months old and carefully patch-tested on older infants.
Mustard oils – This can have a toxic effect on the skin barrier, causing irritation and potential damage to delicate baby skin.
Avocado oils – Similar to olive oil, this contains oleic acid, which can cause dry skin.
Essential oils – As babies have much more sensitive skin than adults, essential oils, even when diluted, are too harsh.
Peanut oils – This contains peanut proteins which some babies may be sensitive to. Using this can also potentially cause an allergy to peanuts as well as skin irritation. “There is some debate regarding the use of groundnut oil (also known as peanut or arachis oil),” explains Karen Pett, Specialist Dermatology Nurse at West Hertfordshire NHS Trust. “Although refined peanut oil, as opposed to crude peanut oil, is generally considered safe, we advise anyone with a peanut allergy to avoid products that contain it, including oils, moisturisers and some shampoo.”
If you’re nervous about using any of these on your baby, particularly if your child has sensitive skin, go with a dermatologist or doctor-approved product instead. “My main advice for babies suffering with dry or eczema-prone skin would be to avoid products with fragrance and use an approved product like Epaderm Junior Cream, £3.49,” suggests Karen Pett.
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