I have been teaching baby massage classes for almost four years now, first in London and now in Stamford and Peterborough. Among families who have had children in the last five to ten years baby massage is quite well known now - it has been offered by local instructors and within children centres across the country. But when I tell people with grown up children, or my friends without children what I do I almost always get a little chuckle or smirk!
So... is baby massage just a bit bonkers? I've decided to compile a list of the most common comments/questions I get and attempt to answer them. So here goes...
Do you massage the babies?
Nope! My role as a baby massage instructor is to teach you a massage routine that can calm and soothe your baby, as well as talking you through the conditions in which to massage, what oils to use and the benefits. Baby massage is all about bonding time for you and your baby. Your baby would much rather have a massage from you!
True, babies don't have to worry about deadlines, paying the rent/mortgage or preparing for a big presentation. But they have just spent nine months, or thereabouts, in a safe, warm environment and now here they are in the big wide world!
Everyday they are meeting new people and experiencing new sights and sounds - it's a lot to take in. Baby massage can offer a quiet, calm moment between baby and mum, dad or other important people in their lives. Baby massage has lots of benefits:
- Helping baby feel more securely attached
- Helping your baby to feel more loved, valued and respected
- Reduce crying and emotional distress
- Increase levels of relaxation and longer sleep
- Development of body awareness and coordination
- Relief from wind, colic, constipation and teething discomfort
In fact baby massage can help you as a parent too:
- Helping you feel closer to your baby
- Gaining a deeper understanding of your baby's behaviour, crying and body language
- Providing you with an enjoyable opportunity for you 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
If you decided to attend a baby massage class, the instructor will tell you more detail about the benefits, there is plenty of research out there to show how it can be beneficial for you and baby.
Absolutely not true! Baby massage classes are open to any important caregiver in a baby's life. I have had at least one dad in almost every class I have taught and plenty of grandparents too. I've also been involved in setting up a 'dad's only' baby massage class. Babies can experience all the benefits listed above by being massaged by mum, dad or Granny. Dads who have attended my classes told me it made them feel more confident with their baby and gave them some important bonding time especially if they had been at work all day.
It's just another 'fad'
It may be a relatively new concept to us but in many cultures baby massage has been practiced for generations. In fact the International Association of Infant Massage was set up by Vimala McClure in 1986 after observing babies being massaged in India. She developed the routine which I am now teaching parents of Stamford and Peterborough, and which other parents are learning across the UK. A research paper from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London said that for mothers in Northern India the massage was believed to "clean, beautify, strengthen, limber and fatten the baby as well as to instil in it positive mental-emotional qualities". In India, traditionally, mothers were confined to the home for a period of time after birth to help them recover from childbirth, the practices and length of time varied however often both mother and baby were massaged daily... a far cry from our society where people think you must be struggling if you are not winding your baby over a skinny latte in Costa by day 5. Baby massage seems set to stay in the UK with many Children's Centre's reporting long waiting lists for classes.
So, I hope I've convinced you that baby massage isn't bonkers! If you live in the Stamford or Peterborough area (and have a baby who isn't yet crawling!) and fancy coming along to a class then visit my website for more details www.rubabub.co.uk
I have a class starting in Peterborough on Monday 10th February. You can also find other excellent baby massage instructors in your area who also trained with the International Association of Infant Massage by visiting http://www.iaimbabymassage.co.uk/baby-massage-classes.html
Rubabub Baby Massage in Stamford, Peterborough and the surrounding area
Tel 07813128404 or email firstname.lastname@example.org