The transition from the womb to the ‘outside world’ is a major transition for all babies. Offering touch on a regular basis helps infants to adjust to this new world. In our busy lives as parents we can get caught up in general day-to-day activities and miss the opportunity to connect one-on-one with our children. Infant massage is an excellent way to focus on what matters most – our kids. Massage time provides that moment where your child has your undivided attention. This is not only beneficial as children grow and gain independence but also allows parents to be more aware of their child’s physical well being.
While infant massage seems to be a new ‘Fad’ in our modern society the fact is we have been massaging our children since time began. The science behind why we do this is emerging, with evidence of the benefits to both Mum, Dad and Baby now widely published. Recent studies have found that massage for babies improves weight gain and bone density, decreases cortisol, and improves cognitive and motor development.
Infant massage courses can be run in either a group setting or private classes. Many mothers groups find the classes a fun and informative way to build on their new friendships. The classes can also be the start of a new group of like-minded friends for many new mums.
Infant massage courses educate parents in the types of strokes to use, the different stroke sequences to aid with many childhood ailments, the best positions for massage, and some fun lymphatic exercises – which not only help with improved immune function but also in promoting a better brain body connection. Furthermore parents gain an insight into how their baby communicates and how to best meet their needs on a very fundamental level.
One of the most rewarding sights during a massage is the response of the child to the question ‘Would you like a massage?’ Obviously at first a baby will not know what you are talking about, but after regular massage and being presented with this question coupled with a hand gesture the baby learns what it means. It’s fantastic the first time you see the positive responses of delight, smiles, giggles and eye contact you can see how much the children love their massage time. My children 6, 8 and 10 will always ask for a massage when they want some “mum” time, especially when they want to chat about something that may be bothering them.
You may also get a negative response when you ask your baby if they would like a massage, which usually suggests the baby is not in the mood at that particular time for massage, so it is important to respect the babies wishes and leave the massage for another time.
About the author: Megan is a mother of three and became a Certified Infant Massage Instructor after experiencing the benefits of massage with her own children. She is passionate about using massage to foster the bond between babies and their parents and carers and she can be found at www.happybubbabymassage.com.au