As a baby massage instructor, I have been asked: “Do babies actually need a massage? Aren’t they already supple, relaxed and free of the stresses that make adults all knotted and tense?”
My answer is not all babies are relaxed and baby massage offers more than just relaxation. Learning the right techniques is vital to ensure that both you and your baby experience the many benefits that massage can provide. For example, some babies appear fussy. Others may cry a lot, sleep poorly or suffer with colic or trapped wind. According to the parents that I work with, they tell me that massage is helping with all these problems. Not only that, the massage offers almost as many benefits for the parents as it does for their baby.
Attachment and bonding is an important part of the early relationship between Mum and baby, but not all mums get a rush of love or feel an instant bond for their baby. Sometimes it takes a while for the love to grow. Baby Massage can help with this process and helps babies and mums form a connection to cherish.
“When my little boy was born I was really, really happy, but I was expecting to feel this overwhelming love that you hear about,” says Kat, one of my clients from Southville. “Instead, it felt like there were all these processes to go through: learn to feed your baby, learn to get your baby to sleep, learn to keep your baby happy. It didn’t feel like a bond at all – more of a mechanical methodology being carried out”
With all the turmoil and uncertainty that surround the lives of parents, particularly on the approach to and the arrival of a firstborn, baby massage can give the opportunity for an uninterrupted and relaxed time to form that precious attachment.
“I took up baby massage and that’s when I really started to feel like I was taking time out to connect with my baby” adds Kat. “I practiced every day and really enjoyed the one-to-one time with him – it felt like we were enjoying something together. I’ve not looked back and adore and love my little one and the connection we now have.”
Parents come to my baby massage courses at The Gentle Touch for many reasons. Sometimes it is to help with a specific problem their baby is having, such as colic. Occasionally it is to get to know their baby in a relaxed and non-judgemental environment. Other times it’s simply because it’s a nice way to spend time with your baby whilst getting to know other mums at the same time. Whatever the reason, when they leave they do so relaxed, confident and with a new skill which will last them a lifetime.
This article first appeared in the November 2013 issue of Bedminster Matters.