…Leg, Ankles, Feet and Toe Massage Strokes

Remember to always keep in contact with your baby so they remain calm. For example, if you release your touch with them then they may become unsettled as they move to look for you because they can’t feel you.

Permission Sequence

The permission sequence is used to allow the baby the have the right to say no to the massage. It allows parents to start building relationships with their infant based on trust and respect by the parent observing their child for yes or no cues and then the parent responding to these cues appropriately. Put oil on your hands and rub them together, your baby will hear the sound and over time will become familiar with the sound and know this is time for a massage. Use simple one to three words to communicate to your baby to ask them would they like a massage, such as ‘do you want a massage’. As you do this aim to establish eye contact with your baby and wait and observe their response for yes and no cues. This is not a time to just use the words and ignore the cues. For example, it is not a time to say ‘want a massage’ with great excitement and then ignore the child by going ahead with the massage. This permission sequence can take a while for your infant to start to understand and respond with physical and verbal cues. This can take up The following is a list of cues that your child

This is not an exhaustive list and you will know or learn to better know your baby’s cues for yes and no.

After the permission sequence, we start with the infant’s legs. You may notice that infants are most expressive through their legs, and they are often kicking and moving their legs. It is an area where they feel less vulnerable and enjoys the massage more and this is why it is a good place to start the massage. Until your baby learns to display cues of yes and no in response you asking them if they want a massage then try and find times that are suitable where your baby may be less tired or not susceptible to massage.

Indian Massage/Milking

Make a ‘c cup’ shape with your hands as pictured below. This allows you to have a nice firm grip with your four fingers and thumb.

‘C’ Cup Hold

Hold the left leg with your left hand, with your left thumb around the back of the infant’s left foot. Then use the C cup to take a hold of the top of the left thigh with your right hand and glide your right hand down the infant’s leg until you get to the ankle. Once both hands are at the infant’s left ankle then take a hold of the ankle with your right hand and take your left hand to the top of the infant’s thigh and then glide this down the infant’s leg to the ankle. Alternatively changing from left hand to right hand stroking with a gentle firm stroke. The younger the baby the more gentler the stroke. Make sure whilst doing this that you always have a firm hold on the babies ankles because this will allow them to relax their leg more because you have a firm grip of their leg.

This stroke will allow energy and tension to be released from the legs.

Rolling

To further release energy and tension in the legs, take both your hands to the top of the thigh as though they are forming two flat parallel planks and move the planks forward and back in the opposite direction. Continue this from the top of the thigh all the way to the infants’ ankle. Then repeat this action again. Infants love this stroke as it gentle makes them wobble and then smile and giggle from the slight jiggling movement. Please note if your babies leg becomes very floppy then you can point your hands and fingers further down to get a more firm hold on the infant’s leg as you move below the knee with the rolling.

Circles on the Thigh and the Calf

Using the ‘C cup’ hold, take hold of the left leg with your right hand and put your fingers together and using the pads of your four fingertips pressed together do circle shapes on your infant’s left leg. go around the top and back of the leg but avoid any hard areas, this includes avoiding the knee, shin and ankle areas.

Circles around the Ankles

with your thumb and index finger forming a ‘C shape’ draw large circles around your infant’s ankle bone. Your left hand is supporting the left leg with a ‘C cup’ hold and your right hand is doing the ‘C shape’ circles with your right thumb on the outer side of the leg/ankle and your index finger on the inside of the leg.

Whilst doing any of the foot strokes the babies foot may lock up due to the planter reflex they have to release this, continue to hold your infant’s ankle with your hand in ‘C cup’ hold and then place the top side of your hand where your pinky finger is and put gentle pressure on the area at the top of the foot before the infant’s toes.

Lines on top of the foot

Holding the infant’s ankle in your ‘C cup’ hand use your index finger to draw lines on top of the foot. Going from the ankle to draw a line separately to each toe.

Toe Squeezes

Holding the infant’s ankle in your ‘C cup’ hold place your thumb on top of the infant’s big toe and the index finger under the big toe. Then with a gentle firm grasp slide the fingers down the big toe. Repeat this on every toe.

One Line up the Base of the Foot

Hold the infant’s ankle in your ‘C cup’ hold to support the leg and foot. Then with your other hand using your thumb with a gentle firm stroke, glide your finger from the heel to the ball of the foot in one upward motion, once.

Continuous Stroking down the Arch

Hold the infant’s ankle in your ‘C cup’ hold to support the leg and foot. Then with your other hand using your index finger draw three strokes in a scooping motion down the arch of the foot from the base of the pad to the top of the heel.

Walking Thumbs

Cup your infant’s foot into both hands to support the ankle and leg. Use the pads on your thumbs to walk using an up and down motion on the bottom of the foot with a slight gentle downward pressure.

Hold and Rub

Use your ‘C cup’ hold to support your infant’s leg and ankle with one hand then use the palm of the other hand to rub the base of the child’s foot to stimulate and warm the foot up after being relaxed for a while.

Swedish Massage Technique

This is the last stroke to do on the infant’s leg as it stimulates the child due to return the circulation and the lymph and the blood to towards the heart. This stroke is going in the opposite direction to the Indian leg massage stroke. Start with holding the left leg with your left hand in a ‘C cup’ hold and with your right hand in a ‘C cup’ glide your hand from the base of the ankle to the top of the thigh, then swap hands. do this for three strokes only as you don’t want to overstimulate your baby.

Now you can continue all of these leg and feet strokes on the other leg and foot.

Buttocks

……..Babies are moving a lot

Place both the palm of your hands underneath your child’s buttocks. Keep your fingers together and move the hands in a circular motion going inwards and downwards with gentle firm pressure.

Incorporation Strokes

Remember incorporation strokes re to be long and firm and go in a downward motion and cover the areas you have massaged thus far. After doing all of the leg, ankles, feet, toes and buttocks strokes you can then start with both of your hands moving from the legs all the way down to the toes repeat a couple of times.