When I teach baby massage groups I often see parents at the first group nervously wondering if their baby is going to stay still and enjoy the massage.
I warn the parents that at some point during the five weeks their baby is likely to cry, and it’s ok. It’s your baby’s way of communicating to you. As well as teaching you the massage, the course is teaching you to trust your skills as a parent. To know that if your baby is not happy it’s fine to stop and comfort your baby, as this shows your baby you are responding to their needs.
When we start the massage we talk about looking for non-verbal cues to check our baby is happy for a massage. If they’re not wriggling, they’re happily looking at you or another parent or baby, then we’re fine to begin.
During the first session some babies can be uncertain, while others take to it like a duck to water. There is no right or wrong, it’s absolutely fine how your baby responds. They’ve experienced so much in their short lives and this is another new experience for them. This is why we begin slowly and build the routine, so that over five weeks they can become used to massage.
As the weeks pass, we often see babies adopt a ‘massage pose’ with their arms raised and lying still, some babies prefer to be sat so they can look at what is happening and some may prefer certain parts of their body being massaged to others. There are certain parts of the body that most babies seem to enjoy while some areas, such as the back, may need to have an adapted position.
Your baby will tell you when they’ve had enough depending on their stage: they may wriggle and become restless, begin to cry, roll over, or crawl away. And that’s fine. You may also find that they laugh, giggle, look intently at you singing or gaze at the baby next to them, even if they are capable of rolling or crawling. As a parent, you’ll know if your baby is enjoying the massage, and you’ll know when it’s time to stop.
Because you know your baby better than anyone else.
Louise is an holistic therapist who owns Therapy Centre, Bristol BS14 9HB, a clinic offering a range of holistic and beauty therapies. Louise offers reflexology, aromatherapy, aromatology, holistic massage, Indian head massage, reiki, baby massage and story massage. She is a mum of two boys and when she is not working she enjoys getting outdoors with her family. For further information about Louise you can visit her website louise-morgan.co.uk