What actually is Baby Massage?
Baby massage has been around in Eastern cultures for thousands of years where it has been passed down from generation to generation as an integral part of daily routine and parenting of babies. In the Western world we have only recently discovered the benefits baby massage can have for our babies and parents.
Baby massage is an extension of a parent’s natural instinct to nurture and care for their baby. Before babies can understand language, we can communicate with them through touch. Gentle, loving touch makes babies feel safe, secure and loved and can hep them to adjust to life outside the womb.
What Happens in a Baby Massage Class?
In a baby massage class we learn a routine which involves stroking your baby using a sequence of gentle, rhythmic movements that are designed to calm, soothe and nurture them. This is often accompanied by songs and rhymes which is shown to increase bonding between parent and baby.
We sometimes have classes with a particular focus such as relieving symptoms of colic or encouraging your baby to sleep deeper and longer. Whatever class you do, it will include some special uninterrupted time to spend with you new little one!
Why Massage babies?
There are a multitude of benefits to baby massage for parents and their babies. These include long term benefits as evidence shows that massaging your baby forms a solid basis for future emotional and intellectual development and there are also links to improved physiological, cognitive and social development.
However, massaging your baby has several more immediate benefits and can be invaluable tool to add to your parenting toolkit to soothe and care for your baby.
These benefits include
- Aiding digestion and reducing wind and constipation
- Relieving symptoms of colic
- Enhancing your baby’s body awareness
- Boosting their immune system
- Aiding sleep by helping babies sleep longer and deeper
- Being calming and relaxing for both parent and baby
- Increasing parents’ confidence in understanding their baby’s cues and needs
- Improving weight gain particularly for premature babies
- Easing teething pain
- Aiding language development through use of songs and rhyme
So, there is a lot more to baby massage than just having a relaxing time (although that is a good enough reason!) Attending a baby massage class is a lovely way to have some special time to devote to getting to know your little one whilst doing good for both of you and meeting some other local parents and babies too!
Baby massage is safe from birth but we recommend attending a class from about 6 weeks so that both of you can get the most from the class. And you can continue to massage your baby for as long as you both enjoy it!