Baby Massage

Baby Massage is a unique way to bond with your baby, while also benefiting your baby’s physical and mental well-being. Parents should physically connect with their baby through touch as soon after baby is born as possible. 

Skin-to-skin contact, otherwise known as kangaroo care, is vital to establishing the parent-baby bond and building confidence in handling your baby. It is recommended that you introduce baby massage roughly one month after birth. 

What are the benefits?

  • Regular touch by a parent or carer is crucial for a baby’s growth, development and communication. Parental confidence is also enhanced through close contact by learning to read and respond to their baby. 
  • Baby massage can help promote the functioning of the circulatory and digestive systems, helping relieve discomfort from ailments such as colic, constipation, trapped wind, and stomach cramps. 
  • Massage helps to relieve and relax muscle tensions and growing pains.
  • Massage is deeply soothing for babies and can help reduce crying and irritation. 
  • Massages before bedtime can aid in a deeper sleep
  • Massage helps enhance your baby’s body and sensory awareness. 

Baby massage is commonly used in neonatal wards to help the development of premature babies in the ICU and is recommended by many health professionals for parents to do at home. 

Baby massage preparation:

  • Use a specific baby massage oil. We recommend using a perfume-free baby oil. Always do a patch test on your baby’s skin first.  
  • Take off any jewellery that may interfere with the massage. 
  • Gradually introduce massage to your baby until they recognise it as a soothing experience. If your baby gets upset or falls asleep, stop the massage. However, don’t let this discourage you! As with anything, new experiences can take a little while to get used to. 
  • Choose a time when you are relaxed and the baby is quiet, alert, and wakeful between feeds—wait at least 45 minutes after a feed. 
  • Initially just hold the baby fully clothed, talk gently, sing, and establish eye contact.
  • Perhaps start with gently stroking the baby’s head, or back, gently stroking their fingers and toes. Notice what they like, and talk to them about what you are doing.
  • When you’re ready, place the baby on a soft towel or blanket in a comfortable position in a warm room with no overhead lighting and make sure the baby is warm. The atmosphere is key, try playing soothing background music to help enhance the experience.
  • Loosen or remove the nappy for a tummy massage.

How to start baby massage:

We recommend starting with a leg massage:

  • Always make sure to communicate with your baby during the massage. 
  • Hold your baby’s ankle in one hand, while with the other hand, hold the top of your baby’s thigh and slide downwards toward the ankle. Always support the ankle or wrist with one hand when massaging your child’s arms or legs. 
  • Next, support your baby’s foot and use your thumbs to stroke over the sole from the heel to the toes, one thumb after the other. Then, gently rub each toe between the thumb and finger
  • Then, gently rub your thumbs across the middle third of the foot, from one side to the other.
  • Repeat the stroking action in the opposite direction (from ankle to thigh).
  • Do circles on the palms of their hands and do gentle finger rubs.

If you are unsure or nervous about getting started, going to a baby massage group is the perfect way to learn how to massage your baby safely. Baby massage courses are available in most towns and cities, and your health visitor or midwife may be able to recommend one locally. You can also find a course here.

The benefits of sucking a soother for baby.

Sucking is one of a baby’s first reflexes, it starts when they are growing in the womb and is vital for your baby to receive the food it needs in the form of milk but also helps to comfort and calm your baby.

Sucking helps regulate the central nervous system, reducing cortisol (the stress hormone), and lowering the heart rate and blood pressure. Research also suggests sucking a soother can reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Even when your baby has finished feeding, they may still want or need to suck because some babies want to suck more than others, this is completely normal and as we know, every baby is different and has slightly different needs. This is when the Qudo™ Soother can be of real benefit.  

Nutritive sucking (NS) is when a baby is sucking to feed and gain the nutrition it needs to grow. 

Non-nutritive sucking (NNS) is when a baby sucks without receiving any nutrition, for example, on the Qudo Soother, a little finger or an empty breast. Babies of all ages find sucking soothing. From as early as 11 weeks’ gestation, the baby in your womb will have gained practice and experience of sucking.

Using a soother or little finger, turned upside down, between feeds can be extremely beneficial for your baby. Not only can it provoke calm, but it also helps your baby’s digestion. When your baby sucks on a soother or little finger, they swallow more saliva which holds necessary digestive enzymes to break down their milk. 

Researchers have noted that sucking between feeds can help babies suffering with reflux.  They found babies who sucked on soothers had fewer and shorter episodes of gastroesophageal or “acid” reflux by stimulating the flow of saliva and downward contractions of the oesophagus. Together, these actions help move the highly irritating stomach fluid back where it belongs.

Giving your sucky baby a soother or little finger between feeds will also help reduce unnecessary sucking on your breast which can cause discomfort or sore nipples. 

The suck, swallow and breathe coordination can be aided by non-nutritive sucking as it also aids neurobehavioural organisation and maturation. 

When to introduce a soother? 

Medical advice is that bottle-fed babies can be given a soother from birth. It is recommended that breastfed babies can start using a soother as soon as breastfeeding is established. 

SIDS and soothers

Scientists have discovered that sucking a dummy at bedtime and sleep times can lower your baby’s risk of SIDS. The lullaby Trust say “We do not know exactly what it is about a dummy that may help reduce the chance of a baby dying of SIDS. As with most of the safer sleep information, we only know that there is good evidence to show what you can do to reduce the chance of SIDS”. For more information visit:

The Qudo Soother is specifically designed to reduce persistent crying, colic, and reflux and support the development of a strong suck, swallow, breathe reflex.

Has you baby been checked for tongue-tie?

By Nicky Bateman, founder of QudoTM.

I’ve often wondered why babies cry and what helpful tips would be available to those of you who might be struggling RIGHT NOW with an unsettled, crying baby and feeding difficulties. If your baby isn’t feeding or is unsettled, it can be stressful, tiring, and emotionally exhausting to figure out how to help your lovely new bundle of joy.

Over the years I have been asking those I talk to in my Qudo research for top tips and advice they can pass on to parents whose baby is’t feeding. Their response have been so interesting so I wanted to share them below.

Get your babies checked for any tongue-tie restrictions

A staggering 83% of the babies recently seen by a Paediatric Chiropractor and a Health visitor based in Godalming, Surrey with feeding and persistent crying, colic and discomfort have had a tongue-tie.

A tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) is a condition present at birth that can restrict the tongue’s range of movements. This is thought to be a result of both genetic and environmental factors.  The lingual frenulum is normal anatomy and usually separates before birth, allowing the tongue to move freely. With a tongue tie, an unusually short, thick or tight band of tissue (lingual frenulum) can tether the tongue’s tip to the floor of the mouth. However, if the membrane is attached further back, the tongue may look normal. This may interfere with feeding. If a baby is unable to move its tongue into the right position, they might chew instead of suck on the end of the nipple, causing pain for the mother and affecting the baby’s ability to get breastmilk. In bottle-fed babies, they may be slow to feed or dribble milk during a feed. Read more in the recent BBC news article

Tongue-tie can impact the baby’s oral development

…including the way they can eat, speak and swallow. Research suggests that approximately 1 in 10 babies may be born with some membrane under the tongue, but only half display reduced function making breast or bottle feeding difficult.

If your baby isn’t feeding, it could be due to a tongue tie that needs further assessment and a potential division. It is thought that approximately 1 in 20 babies may need a division of their tongue tie.

So, there you have it: If your baby isn’t feeding because it is struggling to latch or feed, getting grumpy, windy, or colicky, or if you are getting sore or flattened nipples after feeding, the root cause might just be an undiagnosed tongue tie. Tongue tie can be easily fixed by a trained professional. It is a quick and simple procedure and only causes temporary discomfort for your baby.

Useful resources:

Cranial Rhythm and the Qudo Soother

Cranial Osteopaths and Craniosacral Therapists are trained to feel the subtle pulses in the human body. One of these pulses is the Cranial Rhythmic Impulse or Cranial Rhythm.

The Cranial Rhythm describes slow pulsatile movements that the body exhibits and can be felt in the cranium. The normal pulse ranges from 4 to 14 cpm (continuous passive motion). Often after birth, young babies will have compressions in their cranium caused by the birth process or by how they were lying in the womb. These tensions may be the cause of discomfort, persistent crying, and other common infantile ailments. 

Qualified specialists can gently hold a baby’s head to feel for the pulse, and improve the flow by gently freeing up areas causing restriction and tension. This is barely felt by the baby or children/adults when they receive the treatment. It is a very successful and gentle treatment that relieves compressions that can cause discomfort and pain. The baby’s whole system will function more effectively, and the therapist will feel the improved cranial rhythm after treatment.

Research (2009, Kotzampaltiris et al.) has examined whether an abnormal cranial rhythm is associated with excessive crying in infancy. A study of one hundred and thirty-nine full-term infants found that 41.7% of the infants with an abnormal CRI showed excessive crying. Infants with an abnormal CRI at two weeks old were 6.8 times more likely to develop excessive crying than infants with a normal CRI, suggesting that reduced cranial rhythm is a contributing factor to excessive crying in young infants.

As an experienced and knowledgeable Craniosacral Therapist and Chiropractor, Qudo Founder Nicky Bateman has treated hundreds of babies suffering from excessive crying, colic and other common infantile ailments. Nicky knows that babies like to suck on a human finger, often directing a parent’s finger to rest on their upper palate while they are sucking, instinctively providing some relief to their discomfort. 

In response to this knowledge and completely unique in its form, the Qudo SootherTM mimics a human finger and helps to relieve strains, normalise the cranial rhythmic impulse, and rebalance somatic dysfunction in a baby. 

How? When babies suck the soother, the shape and density of the teat allow mobilisation of the soft tissues and sutural connections that encourage more active movement within the baby’s mouth, freeing up their tongue muscles. This active movement stimulates a rebalancing cascade of positive endocrinal activities and hormonal benefits such as oxytocin production, thereby mimicking sucking on the breast. This, in turn, provides a more effective soothing response.

Research and trials for Qudo SootherTM determined the exact teat size, shape and density that delivered an improved cranial rhythm and relieved babies’ discomfort.

What is reflux? 

Reflux is when a baby brings up milk, or is sick, during or shortly after feeding. Other symptoms can include coughing or hiccuping and displaying discomfort, being unsettled during feeding, crying and not settling well.  

Reflux is quite common and will usually get better on its own, not requiring medication.

Reflux occurs because the ring of muscle between the oesophagus (food pipe) and stomach is not fully developed leading to milk travelling back up the food pipe causing heartburn. The NHS states that it will usually start before a baby is 8 weeks old and gets better by the time the baby is one year old.

Some babies may have symptoms of reflux but not bring up milk or be sick, this is called silent reflux.

Posseting is quite common in babies under six months old and is when babies bring up a small amount of milk (usually a teaspoonful) without displaying any discomfort. 

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is a more intense reflux with the acid rising from the stomach that can cause damage to the lining of the oesophagus. 

If you have concerns about this and your baby is not gaining weight then you should consult your GP.  

What can you do? 

We know that if your baby is suffering with reflux, it can be very distressing for you and your baby. We recommend you visit your GP to get your baby checked. It can be also be helpful to see an experienced Cranial Osteopath or Paediatric Chiropractor for a review. It is not unusual to find tension, restriction or strain patterns in a baby’s diaphragm or rib cage that can be contributing to the possetting or reflux. 

A trained paediatric Chiropractor, Craniosacral Therapist or Cranial Osteopath can help release the strains and tension to deliver relief to your baby. It is important to review the whole balance of a baby’s structure including cranial strain patterns after birth.

Baby massage can assist to relax and unwind muscle and soft tissue tensions in the abdomen, chest, neck and back and calm the nervous system. See our blog on baby massage here.

The Qudo Soother has been designed specifically to reduce discomfort in young babies. It helps an infant as the sucking releases tension in the skull and supports the mobilisation of the soft tissue and bony structures. It helps relieve tension, especially around the base of the skull, which is often one source of pressure against the Vagus Nerve, which affects and informs several systems in the human body, i.e. the Digestive Tract. These strain patterns form as a result of how the baby is lying in a mother’s womb and the mechanics of birth and can be exacerbated through medical interventions to assist birth such as Ventouse and Forceps.