Nurturing touch from infancy is key to a child's development, enhancing their mental, emotional and physiological wellbeing. Research is continuing to prove that baby massage helps stress regulation, encourages weight gain, improves immune systems, and betters sleep patterns and parent-child bonds.
In a world full of busyness and distractions, baby massage allows true one-to-one time for parents and babies to create a trusting, honest and loving relationship that lasts for years to come. Massage is completely adaptable as babies grow, no extra equipment is needed, and you really can do it anywhere and anytime.
For the parents, the massage-givers, nurturing touch helps to lower stress hormones and encourages higher levels of the relaxing and loving hormones (oxytocin and prolactin). The quality time together during baby massage increases confidence in understanding your baby and your own parenting skills; parents are, after all, the experts of their babies.
BABY MASSAGE: WHAT TO EXPECT
Massage for a new body part is introduced each week and all strokes from previous weeks are reviewed, slowly building up massage time. By the last session you will be giving your little one a full body massage, including their lovely face.
A simple baby yoga sequence and routine for wind and colic relief is also taught, as well as a little basic massage theory. With the powerfully soothing effect of a parent's voice, songs and rhymes are included in some of the massage techniques.
The small classes are entirely baby-led, taking cues from the little teachers allowing them to be babies and express their personalities. Crying, sleeping, feeding, changing and playing are all welcome in the room.
We always end our sessions with a discussion topic over tea and biscuits, inviting a relaxed space to share and listen to the unique experiences of parenthood. The space is non-judgemental and welcoming of all ideas and beliefs.
The five-week course gives your baby the opportunity to adjust to a new environment and the feeling of massage, whilst being free to have their needs met. For parents, it allows you the chance to slow down and not rush through learning the skills with an unpredictable little one! Due to the intimate time with baby, and the IAIM ethos based heavily in the promotion of bonding and attachment, this course can only be taught to parents and their babies.
I've been teaching baby massage as an IAIM Certified Massage Instructor for one and half years, which was inspired by my beautiful niece getting massaged with her parents - my sister and brother-in-law. A fundamental part of my own beliefs is that every single person deserves to feel welcomed, loved and accepted as they are throughout their lives. For a child to develop and grow into a caring, thoughtful and resilient adult, they need to have a space in which they can witness these traits firsthand and be on the receiving end of them.
Baby massage has already shown to have incredible physiological benefits for the baby and parent, such as improving immune systems, stimulating breast milk and encouraging weight gain for the baby. The true magic though, comes from the things you can’t always see; the secure bond being created between parent and baby, the rising confidence in the parent and the baby’s fulfilment in being listened to and respected.
I’ve been taught through my own yoga practice and life lessons, that it’s through showing understanding, patience and unconditional love that not only one’s own world will be happier but that everyone else’s would be too.