At babymatters, we believe in the importance of touch and its impact on bonding with your baby. With so much evidence now supporting the benefits of massage, we think it’s an important skill to learn.
For babies, a massage is a wonderful sensory experience. It stimulates your baby’s skin and body, increases oxytocin (your baby’s happy hormone) and helps to increase the efficiency of your baby’s respiratory and gastrointestinal functions (particularly relevant for babies prone to colic).
Baby massage is also a gentle, intimate way to bond with your baby, helping your baby relax, stretch out and relieve any body stresses or little areas of discomfort. What could be better than for you to see how positively your touch can affect your baby’s well-being?
By using practical baby massage techniques I can teach you how to understand your babies’ moods, needs, desires and expressions.
You will learn a combination of Swedish and Indian Massage techniques along with reflexology and yoga before taking home some massage oils to share these techniques with your partner and grandparents.
Why massage your baby?
Baby massage benefits babies in many ways:
Providing a general feeling of wellbeing by stimulating the release of endorphins – which subdue pain – and reducing the circulation of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Helps boost the immunity, regulates digestive system, respiratory and circulatory systems.
Security – a feeling of love and needs being met.
Helps babies learn to relax.
Promotes sounder and longer sleep.
Promotes communication and bonding.
Helps relieve discomforts from gas and colic, congestion and teething.
Helps parents to feel even more bonded with their baby.
Provides “special time” together which helps with bonding.
Helps parents understand baby’s moods or cues.
Improves parent – infant communication.
Allows parents to gain more confidence handling their baby.
Gives parents the ability to help their child relax during stressful times.
Provides parents with practical hands on solutions when their baby is suffering from colic/constipation/teething.
Research shows it helps mothers suffering from post-natal depression.
Fathers & baby massage
Whilst we are all aware of the benefits of a mother’s touch new research shows that a father’s touch is just as important and equally essential to a baby’s wellbeing and health.
Tiffany Field, PhD, has said that ‘As [fathers] learn to soothe their babies, [they] notice their own stress levels are lessened. Together, they experience the calming power of touch, and begin to build life-long attachments.’ Field is the Director of Touch Research Institutes at the University of Miami School of Medicine, and a co-author of a survey on father-infant massage
An Australian study of infant massage and father-baby bonding, found that at 12 weeks old, babies who were massaged by their fathers greeted their fathers with more eye contact, smiling, vocalising and touch than those in the control group, and the fathers experienced improved self-esteem as a parent due to the increased involvement.
The course is 6 sessions long, covering the full body massage over the first 4 sessions.
In the 5th session we learn the ‘Quick Massage’ and the introduction to baby movement. We also include some nursery rhymes and children’s songs (but don’t worry about your singing voice, mine is terrible!)
We also have a chance to discuss over a cup of tea and some chocolate biscuits various post natal issues:
How did the birth go?
Dental care “when to start?”
Weaning your baby on to solids workshop (a baby food tasting and making session)
Returning to work: childcare options or staying at home?
Setting boundaries for your babies growing into toddlers!
You may find that you’re going through experiences you never expected, and that aren’t usually discussed. In the baby massage course we pride ourselves on providing a safe environment for you to honestly explore any issues or concerns you may have.
The 6th session is for partners only giving them a chance to come with their babies on a weekend morning and learn the massage (mum’s can get a lie in!)
Massage oils are provided as well as a book with details of massages and songs to help you practice at home.
Classes are suitable from birth, however your baby is likely to be more receptive at a few weeks old when they are more used to being touched. We recommend doing the baby massage course from 6-8 weeks and before they start crawling.
I would recommend baby massage, its a really lovely activity to complete with your baby. Debra runs the baby massage course in her beautiful home which makes for a very calm and relaxing environment.
- Leanne mum to Chloe
At BabyMatters we are proud to be...
A registrant of FEDANT (Federation of Antenatal Educators), National Registration Number: 11884
A member of IAIM (International Association of Infant Massage)
Insured by Holistic Services