Infant Massage: Importance of Oil

By: Joy Olszewski CIMT, LMT

Some parents have asked us about what type of oil to use when massaging their baby.  This is an important consideration, so we’ve put together this simple guide to help parents make that choice.

All oils put on the skin are absorbed and then move through the capillaries into the bloodstream. An infant’s skin is still developing and can absorb more than an adult’s. So it is important to choose oil that is most suitable for baby’s skin.

When choosing oil for infant massage, look for something that has been cold-pressed or expeller-pressed. As they last longer and have more organic properties.

What is expeller pressed and cold-pressed?

Expeller pressing is a method of extracting the oil without changing the chemical makeup of the oil molecule. Heat based extraction methods chemically change the makeup of the oil molecule.  Because some heat is generated with expeller pressing, some more delicate oils (like from the seeds of olives) are expeller pressed in a heat controlled environment so temperatures don’t rise above a certain temperature. These oils would be considered cold pressed.

Petroleum based products

Petroleum is an odorless, tasteless, greasy substance obtained as the residue after the more volatile components have been boiled off. The clear liquid form of petroleum is mineral oil, also known as “baby oil”. Mineral oil does not easily absorb into the skin, is non-edible and can have a negative effect on hormones.

What oil should I use?

Unscented, natural, cold-pressed, organic, fruit or vegetable oils are recommended for infant massage. Consider that babies suck on their fingers and hands, so an edible product is recommended.

Jojoba Oil

At Well Within we recommend Jojoba oil for infant massage.  Jojoba oil is the liquid wax produced in the seed of the jojoba plant. It is edible, but indigestible, meaning it will pass through the digestive tract unchanged. We like jojoba oil for its many benefits, including:

– non-allergenic

– antibacterial

– botanical extract of the seed of a jojoba tree

– stable shelf life

– assists in breaking down sebum in clogged pores

– balances the brain and pituitary

– doesn’t stain fabrics

We hope everyone enjoys the precious time when their babies are so young, and we think Infant Massage is a great way to spend quality time with your baby. When you choose your oil, read ingredients and choose a product that you are comfortable with.  What are some of your favorite baby safe products?