Baby massage has become more popular in recent years, as parents think it’s a nice thing to do with their young baby while health professionals are beginning to understand the implications of positive touch for an early age.
So, what is it?
Some people think it involves the therapist massaging their baby, however, it is actually the therapist teaching the parent or caregiver how to massage their baby. Baby massage is about teaching the skills for you to massage your baby at home.
Baby massage involves learning a short routine which can be carried out as frequently as you want. For some parents this may be daily, while for others it may be once, or a couple of times a week. It is a great way for you to spend quality time with your baby, taking time out of a busy day to spend time focusing and interacting with your baby. By 12 weeks your baby’s brain development is already underway, as babies are wired for learning. Baby massage helps to release calming hormones in the body and including songs can also encourage their brain development for speech.
What happens when you teach baby massage?
Baby massage should always go at the baby’s pace. When the parent is being taught baby massage, the tutor allows time for feeding and stopping the massage if your baby becomes upset. During the baby massage a baby may decide they don’t want to lie down or would prefer a change of position while they are being massaged. This is fine, and your massage instructor should be able to advise you about possible precautions.
Why is baby massage so popular?
Baby massage has long been offered by health professionals as a good way to help bonding between parent and child. More research is being carried out and is discovering how important touch is for the parent and the child, and the importance of touch in the baby’s brain development. Baby massage gives the new parent tools to understand their baby’s cues; for many new parents it can be difficult and frustrating if their baby is upset due to common conditions such as reflux, constipation, colic. Learning techniques can help the parent feel as though they are able to help their baby more. For both parent and baby it is an enjoyable interaction, and as the parent responds to their baby’s cues, it reinforces to the baby they are being heard.
What to expect during a session?
If you’ve booked on the group, then chances are when the day arrives and your baby isn’t feeding at the right time, or has seemed a little grumpy, you’ll be wondering why on earth you’ve booked a massage class. Most parents are worried their baby is going to cry or need feeding, and this is fine. This is what babies do. The good thing is you can watch, check you’re happy with the skills, and practice at home at a time which suits you and your baby more. As the weeks go on, your baby becomes used to the massage and is likely to tolerate it more. Some parents arrive warning their baby is in a fractious mood, but are surprised when their baby allows them to massage them!
Baby massage is designed to be fun for the parent and the baby, and it can help parents to feel empowered when they learn techniques to try for common childhood issues such as teething or can help to relax their baby’s to fall asleep. While you can’t guarantee the massage will help, for some babies there is some respite for a common complaint and it can help parents to manage this difficult time, as they are able to do something for their child.
If the idea of attending a group seems to daunting you can ask for a one to one session, which allows for the massage to take place at your baby’s pace and with specific advice about any issues you may have. It’s about finding a way that fits with you and your baby
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, 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, visit louise-morgan.co.uk.