Touch is the first line of communication a newborn knows. It is also the first sense to develop early on in the womb. Baby massage is a technique to encourage nurturing touch between a mum and her baby. It creates a sense of security for the baby and encourages the development of healthy attachments.
Baby massage is a loving time spent with you and your baby. It not only strengthens your bond, it benefits your baby’s digestive system, circulatory system, promotes better sleep and can be used as a tool to soothe your baby. Through nurturing touch and massage strokes, your baby can relax and enjoy some quality one to one time with you. It is also a lovely escape for mums (or dads) each week to step back from this busy period of their lives, and focus on their little one without any distractions. Not only do the babies benefit from these classes, the mums love the social interaction with other mums, exchanging stories and tips of parenthood. When the five week course comes to an end, phone numbers are usually exchanged and new friendships have developed which is lovely to see.
In each class we start with an ice breaker, allowing each mum to introduce themselves and their baby. We then ask permission from the babies whether or not they would like a massage. This is an important part of each class and we encourage mums to use this at home when massaging their baby. It allows the baby to communicate whether or not they would like a massage and it also helps mum to recognise her baby’s cues.
The massage techniques trigger the release of oxytocin (the love hormone) from both baby and mum, creating an intimate atmosphere. As one can imagine a room full of mums and babies, with the oxytocin flowing and a chorus of nursery rhymes, it is a lovely place to be.
Each class ends with some tea and coffee and of course some biscuits. This time at the end allows mums to interact and get to know each other a little more. There are always tips to be picked up whether it's the best deal on nappies or the most baby friendly cafe with the best coffee!
By the end of the five weeks, you will have learnt a full body massage for your baby as well as a colic/reflux routine and some gentle movements. These massage strokes can be carried out on your baby as he/she grows in to a toddler or a child, or even in to the teenage years. At any age, at the end of a long day who wouldn't love a massage?
Written by Lisa Canavan, Midwife & Baby Massage Instructor