“Infant massage can promote the kind of parenting that the attentive mother was able to provide. Its benefits go far beyond the immediate physiological gains. As you massage your baby regularly, you will discover that you develop a bond with your child that will last a lifetime.”- Vimala McClure
Infant or baby massage has been around for thousands of years. Is an ancient art used in many diverse cultures to help with a variety of physical and emotional needs, or to promote relaxation. A long-standing part of parenting, with roots in India and Africa, baby massage has been gaining popularity in the UK since the 1970s. Is a wonderful and special gift that you can share with your baby from birth, resulting in deep emotional bonds formed between parent and baby in infancy, lay the foundation for a lifetime of trust, courage, dependability, faith and love.
Incorporating a variety of different massage principles infant massage provides benefits for both the baby and the parent and is wonderful way to enhance the unique relationship you have with your child. Typically, baby massage is performed with gentle, rhythmic stroking movements across the baby’s skin, and often focusing on areas such as their hands, arms and legs. Infant Massage includes all the elements of attachment, including eye contact, smiling, soothing sounds, touch, smell and interaction. Evidence shows that loving and nurturing contact between care givers and infants has a significant impact on their physical, emotional and mental development. Thus the importance of infant massage is now been recognised and there are many practitioners teaching parents the techniques all over the country including premature baby units.
Touch is the “mother of the senses” and is the first sense to develop in the womb and remains the most developed sense at birth. Before babies are able to speak, or even respond to sounds and sights, they communicate with the world around them through touch. It is therefore not surprising that massage can stimulate the nerve centres in the brain, lowering stress levels and thereby resulting in improved immune systems. Positive, nurturing touch is a wonderful way to help your baby feel safe, secure and loved and promoting good health, deepens bonding and strengthens communication and family relationships. Baby massage can also be relaxing for mum as well as baby. Yes, babies get stressed too being in new environments and they also pick up on your stress. Taking time out together for a massage teaches baby how to relax, and you will relax too as baby massage can play a vital role in this process particularly if you’ve struggled due to postnatal depression, an early baby or medical problems. Learning baby massage is an encompassing experience for the whole family unit and it’s a great thing for dad to learn too, especially if mum is breast feeding and he feels left out in those early days. It teaches all involved to love, cherish and respect each other and reinforces the notion that mum, baby and extended family have started off on a momentous journey together, where all of us play our own unique role in supporting and loving one another.
”Connect with your children heart-to-heart. Touch them with your hands, your eyes and your heart. Let them bond with the living, the breathing world” Vimala McClureInteraction in Infant Massage May Include:
- Promotion of bonding and secure attachment
- Verbal/non-verbal communication
- Development of trust and confidence
- Using all the senses
- Feelings of love, respect, and being valued
Each Massage May Stimulate:
- Circulatory and digestive systems
- Hormonal and immune systems
- Coordination and balance
- Learning and concentration
- Muscular development and growth
- Mind and body awareness
- Helps to improve sensory and body awareness
- Enhances neurological development
Parents May Find that Infant Massage Helps Relieve:
- Gas and colic
- Constipation and elimination
- Growing pains and muscular tension
- Teething discomfort
The Massage Promotes Relaxation which May be Shown Through:
- Improved sleep patterns
- Increased flexibility and muscle tone
- Regulation of behavioural states
- Being calm and being able to calm themselves
- Reduction in stress hormones
- Promotes relaxation which reduces crying
Benefits for baby’s carer:
- It is a great way of strengthening your bond with your baby.
- Is fun
- gives dad a fantastic role in baby’s early life and makes him feel included
- It can help you become more confident with handling your baby and better at recognising their needs.
- Enhances prolactin (for breastfeeding)
- Baby massage is also a great way for partners, grandparents and siblings to bond with the newest addition to the family.
- Massaging the jaw can relax a baby who has just begun to take solids.
- Massaging the gums through the skin may ease the pain of teething.
- A face massage can unblock a blocked nose.
- Massage can alleviate the effects of postnatal depression and help a mother have a more positive interaction with their baby.
- Gives special time
- Improves caring
- Dispels fear for new babies
- Makes new friends
“The most precious jewels you will ever wear around your neck are the arms of your children. When you touch their body, you touch the whole person, the intellect, the spirit, and the emotions”
Easy to learn, fun and relaxing to do, you may enjoy baby massage classes as the techniques I teach, you will be able to learn safe methods that will build confidence in touching and handling your baby and consequently you will be able to tune into your baby’s body language. All of the techniques are demonstrated and explained fully by me on a doll, and you will then massage your baby. If your baby is asleep a doll will be provided for you to practise on. it is not recommended, massaging your baby when they are feeling tired, hungry or upset as this may cause discomfort in both of you. We will discuss the details of the baby massage, explaining the benefits of the particular massage movements, with plenty of opportunity to ask questions, or go over any of the movements again.
The course is suitable for babies from 6 weeks old, as younger babies may find the environment too overwhelming before then. They are taught over a period of 4-6 weeks to give both the parent and baby time to learn and become accustomed to the massage. This includes a detailed handout and a pot of organic oil or aromatherapy blend massage oil (as I am a qualified Aromatherapist) which can be customise regarding your baby requirements. Sessions also available in the comfort of your house which can be taught as individual or group sessions.