Why I urge you to learn how to massage your baby

I’m on a mission this year to spread the word about baby massage classes.

When I started teaching a few years ago I got some very strange looks and was asked some very odd questions when I shared this was something I’d learnt. I think this may also have been the result of being a massage therapist so people immediately assumed the babies were coming to me for a massage.

The truth is that baby massage is less about actual massage and more about bonding, communication and touch.

Whilst aspects of it help with relief in certain areas of the body as you would expect from a general massage appointment this is only part of the benefits you will find from joining a class.

As baby massage is something that we’ve only seen pop up fairly recently, some may think thats its ‘new’. As with many things this is actually the complete opposite and in other parts of the world mothers and families have been massaging their young for centuries with the skill being passed down through generations.

I think its wonderful that classes are now more and more available here and mums and dads are learning this skill that can be used throughout their childs life. The massage you learn for your baby can be adapted for all ages and I love getting messages from my students years later telling me they were able to soothe their toddlers and school age children with the massage they have learnt.

I teach small classes at Greene Wellbeing and classes can also be booked with Charlotte at Kinlife and Katie at Intouch Birthing.

They both shared with me why they love teaching baby massage –

‘I love teaching baby massage because the techniques are all so simple to learn but are highly effective and It is amazing watching the bonding process evolve and develop throughout the course and the amount of eye contact and smiles between parent and baby grow.
I also love the way baby massage can be used as a natural remedy to help babies ease some of the pains and discomfort they can experience.
Baby massage is not just a short course it is a life long skill to be used throughout a child’s life as a comfort and connection between parent and child and I really enjoy playing a tiny part in helping parents and babies at the start of that journey.’
Katie – Intouch Birthing
“Baby Massage is wonderful to teach as it is such an honor to witness the incredible bonding it provides. Seeing the babies reacting and giving lots of smiles to their mummy is just so special. It is also lovely and reassuring to hear mums talk about how massage is helping their little ones tummy troubles and sleeping patterns (hurrah!)”
Charlotte – Kinlife
When I studied baby massage we were told to leave our other ‘hats’ at the door and when we walk into a room we are a baby massage instructor. I completely agree with this idea however what we have experienced becomes who we are and I love that despite teaching the same topic we will all present it slightly differently and mums in our community have the choice of finding the right class for them.
What to expect from a class –
Baby massage classes are very relaxed. You will find tutors are very well aware of your needs and that classes are completely unpredictable with little people. You will have the opportunity to massage, feed, soothe and change your baby.
Sometimes you may end up doing no massage and I’ve even had a full class where every baby was asleep for the first 30 minutes but you will always leave having learnt everything by the end of a course.
You do not need any experience at all so please don’t let this put you off. This is about you and your baby and nothing about mastering tricky massage techniques. I like to thing of classes as a starting guide to give you some ideas. You my wish to always follow the sequence you’ve learnt or you may start to improvise. Classes suit every type of personality.
Baby massage is for everyone – I know it can be harder for 2nd, 3rd, 4th……..time mums to come to class but I’ve seen in many cases this is almost even more important as it is a special hour a week just for the 2 of you.
The more you massage the more you will see the benefits however it has to be something relaxing that you both enjoy so if you get to massage every day brilliant but if its just a small window every week then thats fine too. Many of my students also include older children in massage which can be lovely for bonding.
Classes will differ in content but in general you will learn a full body massage and specific massage for digestive and sinus issues. Many classes will include other topics relating to this period (  i.e. teething, sleeping/not sleeping, relaxation for mums, weaning) and there is generally a discussion section that allows mums to share with the group anything that they’d like to talk about and check in with how others are getting on.
Below is a list of the benefits from the International Association of Infant Massage.
For your baby
  • Helping your baby to feel securely attached
  • Helping your baby to feel more loved, valued and respected
  • Reduced crying and emotional distress
  • Increased levels of relaxation and longer sleep
  • Development of body awareness and coordination
  • Relief from wind, colic, constipation and teething discomfort

For you

  • Feeling closer to your baby
  • Gaining a deeper understanding of your baby’s behaviour, crying and body language
  • Providing an enjoyable opportunity to spend one-to-one time with your baby
  • Feeling the relaxing effects of giving your baby a massage
  • Increased confidence in your ability to care for and nurture your baby
  • Learning a life-long parenting skill

Enjoy your class, Natalie x

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Bringing babies to massage – The truth

Bring babies to massage. I say this to my clients in a fairly blasé manner when actually when I look back on having my own newborn I’m not sure I would have felt it was that easy.

What I do remember very clearly is being absolutely desperate for a massage, all the time!

Over the years I have had many babies visit the therapy room and more recently I have had a lot a tiny visitors. I know this can be a daunting prospect so below I have shared what actually happens as this is such an incredibly important time to look after yourself.

What does a session look like when I bring my baby?

When babies come to massage sessions a little bit of extra time is always given as there is obviously an element of unpredictability.

Should your little one be in any kind of a routine or you know they generally sleep at a certain time then its an idea to book your session for this time. There is a good chance your baby will sniff out that you have a massage booked so do not be shocked if they suddenly for the first time in weeks don’t go to sleep when they usually do. We can work around this.

A few different things can happen here.

Scenario 1. Your baby sleeps through your whole session and you have a very relaxing session with you both having a snooze. This happens far more often than not and is particularly successful with clients who have had pregnancy massage. We put the same music on we have used in pregnancy sessions and babies are used to hearing us chatting a little.

Scenario 2.

Your little one is unsettled at different intervals during you session and needs some attention.

Massage in this scenario evolves around your babies needs. We can continue to massage while you feed in a side lying position, in a seated position on the couch or in a chair. You are still able to relax while receiving a head or foot massage. Massage does not need to stop. If your little one needs further attention then we can include some baby massage at this point and go over some movements that will help any need for relief or relaxation. Massage is so wonderful that both giver and receiver benefit from ‘happy’ hormones being released so should we move to baby massage then both of you continue to benefit as I show you strokes using a doll.

There is always a way to massage and for you to get the most out of your session. Even during moments where you can’t be massaged the time is filled with other options that will help you and your baby.

My advice is to think of the session as a ‘Mummy and Baby’ session. Time for you to spend together and potentially both receive massage.

In the event that babies are hugely unsettled then we will discuss at the appointment how we move forward but be safe in the knowledge that my number 1 aim is for you to have as much massage as possible, in the most relaxing, easy and stress free way as possible.