Infant Massage is the very special art of using nurturing touch to communicate with your baby, to show them that they are loved, welcomed and respected, and that they can feel safe and secure in their new world. It is a wonderful way to bond with your baby as it works on an emotional as well as a physical level, developing a closeness between parent and baby that has lifelong benefits. In classes parents/caregivers learn to massage their own babies in a safe environment promoting positive loving touch.
Massage is soothing.
Can aid sleep patterns.
Releases oxytocin (aka the ‘love hormone') into the baby's body and into the body of the person giving the massage.
Tones the digestive tract.
Helps relieve colic, wind, and constipation
Can help ease teething discomfort and congestion.
Speeds myelination of the nervous system for better brain-body communication.
Relieves emotional stress.
Can assist in the bonding process; building an enduring trust and intimacy between parent and child
Can help in recovery from post-natal depression.
Early bonding contributes to future positive values and positive adult behaviour.
Respectful interaction helps parents ability to understand their childs body language and cues.
The child feels heard and respected, gaining confidence and a healthy self image as they grow.
Massage impacts and benefits all systems of the body.
Stimulates and can help speed development for premature babies.
Can help to increase weight gain.
Stimulates language skills, as you talk and sing to your child during massage.
Helps with the development of motor skills and co-ordination.
Because it is a powerful bonding tool and a very intimate experience, the International Association of Infant Massage recommend that baby massage is only taught to those closest to the baby. Therefore, ideally babies could be accompanied by:
For dads it is a very special way to get involved, especially if mum is beastfeeding. It is something that is enjoyable and fun, and really benefits baby, building close bonds. Courses can be especially beneficial for any mum dealing with post-natal depression.
All Babies from birth to pre-crawling, including premature babies and babies with additional needs.
All babies differ and will react in their own individual way to massage. Some parents like to begin as early as possible and others prefer to wait a few weeks/months. This is a very individual decision but classes are entirely "baby-led" and you should feel free to do as little or as much of the massage as your baby will accept, and to feed or change your baby, as required, at any time during the class. You are encouraged to watch your own baby's cues and to listen to them - they will let you know very clearly how they are feeling! Massage builds up gradually over the weeks of the course which allows babies to gradually get used to it's stimulation and to grow with it.
Crying is welcomed and accepted during classes - and that goes for parents as well as babies!! It is how babies communicate (and it is often what a mum (or dad) needs). If there is a general outcry we can always take a little "cuddle break".
Baby Yoga focuses on movement and balance for babies. It is playful stimulation through yoga-based exercise which encourages babies to enjoy life and have fun with movement and exercise. It helps your baby begin to explore their body's range of movements and experience and gain their sense of balance. Parents work with their own babies and stimulation occurs through the mutual involvement of parent and baby, at each baby's own individual pace. Challenging movements converted into safe games with songs and rhymes are repeated for babies to play and enjoy.
There is lots of opportunity for social interaction between the babies during the classes and this is particularly enjoyable for both the babies and the parents. Although the focus of the Baby Yoga class is mainly on the babies, we also include some stretches for the parents. For mums, we focus on beginning to realign the body after the pregnancy, working on balance and posture and on tightening up all the core muscles. For dads, although their body shapes have not been changed with pregnancy, these exercises are also beneficial!
Classes always end with a 10-15 minute relaxation. This is aimed particularly at the parent who is encouraged to try to take the time to experience a (much needed) deep relaxation. It is good for a baby to see their parent relax as it shows them how to relax themselves and usually after the stimulation of the class they are ready for relaxation themselves.
Babies from 12-14 weeks onwards.
All babies are individual and will have different levels of flexibility. It is stressed that none of the movements should be forced and that parents should listen to their babies and only do what the baby is happy with.