HOW TO MASSAGE THE BABY?
Begin with applying oil to the fontanel. Apply as much oil here as gets absorbed. Then put two to three drops of oil in the baby's navel and two to three drops in each ear. The massage should be done from the legs upwards; the direction of movement is from the soles to the feet and then the thighs. Massage strokes should generally be from the lower part of the body to the upper. Similarly, the palms, backs of the hands, then the arms should be massaged in this sequence. A similar upward movement is to be followed on the back, from the sacrum to the neck. On the abdomen, the strokes of the massage should be in a circular clockwise movement from the right to the left side. The massage oil should be lukewarm, especially in the rainy season and in winter. Give the baby a bath about half an hour after the massage.
Regularly massaging the baby will strengthen its bones and muscles. The baby's skin will become softer and will glow a lot more. Massage will also ensure adequate and normal physical growth for the baby, and will improve resistance to disease and will also boost the baby's immune system. A second application of oil in the evening will ensure sound sleep for the baby during the night.
It is advisable to continue giving the baby regular massages until the age of two. It should be a definite daily activity for the baby during the first eight to nine months, and subsequently the child can be given a massage once or twice a week up to the age of five.
BATH AND HERBAL PASTE APPLICATION
The water used to bathe the baby should be neither too hot nor too cold. As the baby's skin is extremely sensitive, susceptible and tender, the use of a bathing powders such as Santulan Baby Massage Powder, instead of soap, is recommended. Some of the main ingredients of such powders are sandalwood, anantmool and turmeric, with chickpea or masur flour. Santulan Baby Massage Powder should be mixed with fresh milk or cream to make a paste. Use this paste instead of soap while bathing the baby.
The room used for the baby's massage and bath should be free of draughts of wind. Draughts can occur due to open doors or windows. Direct exposure to a fan or air-conditioner is just as bad. Immediately after bathing, the baby should be wrapped in soft muslin cloth, and dried gently.
SMOKE THERAPY - DHOOP
After bath, the baby should be exposed to dhoop. If one follows traditional methods of dhoop, the charcoal or dried cow dung (govarya) to be used for this purpose, should already be lit and kept ready when the child is being bathed. It is quite convenient now, though, to use electric dhoop pots or pans (available in the marketplace). Sprinkle a small amount of Santulan Tenderness Dhoop on the electric pot and switch it on. The baby should then be held over the smoke that emanates from the herbal mixture. If needed, a large sieved pot or pan may be placed over the dhoop pot so that the baby is not directly exposed to the heat. This also helps to ensure that the smoke spreads out more (see the image on the previous page). The smoke should reach all the parts of the baby's body, especially the fontanel, ears, anus, and genitals. Please ensure that the baby is not in any discomfort or feels choked or is touched by anything hot in this process. Dhoop, taken daily, helps to ward off infections and prevents coughs, colds and fever. Since this therapy helps the overall growth and development of the child it should be administered daily for at least for the first six to eight months. As the baby grows older, and it becomes difficult to hold the baby in such a position, the child may be placed near the dhoop pot instead. After dhoop, apply a pinch of vekhand (Acorus calamus) powder to the baby's chest and some finely powdered sangjira to the baby's abdomen, armpits, groin and chest. After this the child can be dressed. This remedy helps removes excess or unwanted body hair on a child, and may be especially useful for girl babies. Mix turmeric and vekhand powder, or make them into a paste and apply it to the skin regularly. This considerably reduces future visits to the beauty parlour!
The baby's clothes, sheets and bed linen should be made of soft cotton or silk. Ayurvedrecommends that all clothes used for the baby be treated with dhoop as well. The baby's clothes should be washed, dried in the sun - and then exposed to dhoop to sterilise them - before use. This practice is a must in the rainy season. In other seasons exposing only the baby's cloth diapers to dhoop may also be sufficient. Clothes and cotton diapers should be ironed to prevent microbial contamination.
Avoid making your baby wear tight clothes, especially undergarments. Cloth diapers should not be tied tightly onto the abdomen. In the interests of convenience, there is an increasing tendency to use disposable diapers. These leave the genital region constantly moist and do not allow the area to be exposed to air. This causes an increased incidence in infection, inflammation, or rash (diaper rash) in the area. Avoid using disposable diapers as much as possible.