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  • Karen Stoner, LMT

4 Ways massage can help a baby with a cold

4 ways massage can help a baby with a cold

1. Face & sinus massage

Short Answer: A baby's face and skull structure is already pretty much similar to an adult's, so whatever feels good to you when your sinuses are stuffy will feel good on a baby. Massage along the sinuses, cheeks, and jaw may help ease the pain and pressure of congestion.

More details: Sinuses can get very painful when a cold makes them stuffy. We know eventually it will go away and we can take medication to help, but for babies - not so much. Gentle downward strokes along both sides of the nose, over the cheekbones, and along the sides of the face along the ears, plus gentle ear pulls can help relieve some of the pain and help baby calm down and feel a little better while also helping loosened up the stuffiness and congestion to get it out.

4 ways massage can help a baby with a cold

2. Bottle cap chest suction

Short answer: To loosen up chest congestion, take the cap from a bottle (or any other small cup - even a shot glass) and gently place it against baby's chest, then quickly pull it away, creating a small amount of suction.

Repeat several times all over the chest to help the gunk move out more easily.

More details: We used to call this technique "cupping" before cupping became a mainstream thing int he massage world. Basically, you are using the cup to create very small amounts of suction to break up and move the fluid, congestion, and gunk in the lungs to make it more liquid and smaller so that baby can then cough it up more easily. If you are putting the cup down to the point where it is leaving marks, you're pressing too hard. Just quick and gentle rapid movements will be effective. (Plus, baby may be so fascinated by what you are doing, it may help distract them form crying and feeling bad for a few minutes!)

4 ways massage can help a baby with a cold

3. Massage back and shoulders while upright

Short answer: A simple massage on the back and shoulders while baby is help upright against your chest or over your shoulder can help calm them down and ease some stress (for both of you), as well as helping loose congestion drain and move.

More details: Having a sick child that you can't make understand what is wrong is horribly difficult for a parent. Sometimes the best you can do is to comfort the child and make them try to feel more secure, safe, and calm even though they feel horrible. Massage on the back, neck. scalp, and legs while holding them can help bring them some comfort and will also give you some peace of mind and calm in a situation that is stressful and just overall sucky for everyone.

4 ways massage can help a baby with a cold

4. Chest massage with oil

Short answer: Gentle massage with oil that is warmed in your hands over the chest can help calm baby as well as loosen uncomfortable congestion. If baby is old enough, a drop/oz of an essential oil such as eucalyptus may help loosen mucus and make coughing more productive.

More details: Gentle massage on the chest can be calming and relaxing for baby as well as can help loosen up congestion and tightness in the lungs, making it easier for baby to breathe. It is not advisable to use Essential oils on babies under 1 year of age, but if you consult with a trained aromatherapist, they may be able to help you find a solution as far as oils that are safe, how much to use, and how to use them to give baby a little boost of help. If you are using a scented oil to help bring baby relief, make sure you are using only pure essential oils, and mix one drop of that oil into an ounce of a neutral oil or lotion. NEVER use essential oils neat and un-diluted on an infant's skin, or use it anywhere near their face, eyes, or hands.

4 ways massage can help a baby with a cold

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