Baby massage is not a new invention. For generations, women have used the nurturing touch of massage to soothe, calm and communicate with their babies. In traditional cultures, particularly in Asia and Africa, infant massage is an inherent part of child rearing passed down through the generations. Touch is the first sense to develop in the womb and and while we can live without sight or hearing or any of the other senses, we cannot thrive without the most essential source of sensory stimulation – touch.
Long before babies are able to speak, they communicate with the world through touch. The power of touch to soothe and heal is instinctive. If a baby cries we often cuddle them or stroke their back. Massaging your baby is an extension of this natural impulse.
The International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) believes that all families should benefit from this wonderful tradition and has trained infant massage instructors in over 40 countries to teach mothers and fathers the art of baby massage. The IAIM massage course draws from both the Indian and Swedish massage traditions as well as incorporating principles from yoga and reflexology. Whilst the focus is on massaging infants, you will also learn how to massage older children, so your new skills will benefit you and your family for many years to come.
There are so many benefits to baby massage but the most obvious benefit is the opportunity to strengthen the bond between you and your baby. In my antenatal classes, I often see anxious mums and dads who are worried they might not know how to be a good parent, that they may not have these instincts that so many people talk about. In such an expert ridden society, with endless parenting books that all seem to contradict each other, it is not surprising that new parents often feel at a loss in those early days and weeks. Baby massage is not about perfecting the technical strokes of massage. So much of the focus is on getting to know your baby, learning to read their cues, and understanding the different behavioural states that babies go through.
As a result, my classes are completely baby led. I demonstrate all the massage strokes on a doll, and if your baby is happy and in the mood for massage, then you will follow along. If your baby is asleep when you arrive, you can leave them sleeping in their buggy while you practice the strokes on a doll. If your baby needs feeding, changing or is just not in the mood for a massage, then you can just see to their needs and massage them later at home. There is no stress about babies 'not behaving' for baby massage! All behaviour is normal and welcomed! I often have mums curled on the sofa feeding while they watch the strokes or in another room rocking them to sleep.
Baby massage may also:
- Aid baby’s digestion
- Ease teething pain
- Help your baby sleep better and for longer
- Ease your baby’s wind (gas) and colic pain
- Relieve your baby’s constipation
- Stimulate your baby’s neurological development
- Help you understand your baby’s body language and cues
- Build on the strong bond of love and trust with your baby
I have completed the IAIM training programme and am a fully Certified Infant Massage Instructor and run the 5 week courses from my home. My baby massage courses are suitable for babies up to the age of 12 months old (or active crawlers). My classes are informal, relaxing and fun. I provide mats, cushions and oils along with all the hand outs you will need to practice baby massage at home. All you need to bring is your baby, and a baby blanket. Each session includes time for theory and discussion where you will have the opportunity to talk to and learn from the other parents in the class, make new friends and of course eat lots of cake at the end!
Twins, premature babies and children with special needs are warmly welcomed, Baby massage is also lovely for second (or third or fourth) time parents who want to carve out some special one to one time with the latest addition to their family.
The 5 week baby massage course costs £75 per family.
My classes take place in my home in Barnes.
I run courses every month so please email me for the latest dates and see which course suits you best.
If you would like to book onto a baby massage course then please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will take it from there.
(One to one sessions are available upon request, and I can come to your home for these if you would prefer. For an antenatal group I am also happy to put on a course especially for you.)
I look forward to meeting you! Sophie X x X