Last week I completed my Infant Massage Practitioners Course. I had a ball with lots of babies and mums helping us out with our techniques. I took Baby Massage classes with my son a few years ago. It was my favourite part of the week but in my sleep-deprived fog I hadn’t realised the breadth of benefits for both baby and mum & dad – here are just a few of the benefits I learned about last week:
If mums come to Baby Massage for a specific reason it will usually relate to digestion, as I did. Massage can soothe colic, alleviate trapped wind and aid constipation, as well as helping to stimulate the circulatory and nervous systems. Embarrassment should be left at the door of classes because the effects of massage can be immediate and many a trump may be heard! Massaging the gums may also help teething so that everyone can get a better night’s sleep!
Touch is baby’s first language, and it is their most advanced sense at birth. Massage teaches positive loving touch, especially important for babies who have spent time in hospital. The act of massage helps babies to feel loved, respected and secure – someone loves them enough to do this loving act. A baby who enjoys a daily massage as part of their routine will feel especially loved.
Ultimately massage will promote relaxation in your baby, reducing fussiness and improving his and your sleep, a win-win for all concerned.
Massage can alleviate the effects of Postnatal Depression, helping mum to have a more positive interaction with her baby. It generally helps parents to understand their baby’s non-verbal communication cues. It can be a great way for parents to understand how their baby responds to something that feels really good.
Massage enhances parents’ confidence and competence in handling their baby; this is especially true with fathers who may be all fingers and thumbs with their young baby.
The action of massaging their baby can have quite a hormonal effect on a mother. Massage stimulates the production of hormones that promote both lactation and nurturing instinct – quite a hit for mum and baby!
What I noticed during my time with the massage guinea pigs was that almost all the babies became really excited when their mum’s massaged them initially (lots of squeals and shrieks) and then gradually became really chilled out, to the point of falling asleep in a few cases. The mums and babies maintained such strong eye contact, just enjoying this special interaction, often oblivious to everything else. It was pretty special to be part of it and I’m looking forward to working with many more mums, dads and their babies in the future.
Have you tried Baby Massage – what was your experience of it?