One of my favourite classes when Little Bird was tiny was baby massage. Six new parents would gather in a very warm, very cosy room and kneel in front of our little squishes and practice our strokes while singing softly. Some of the babies slept through the class, sometimes one of us mums would spend an entire session breastfeeding and not doing any massage at all. But one thing was sure, all the babies were calm and happy, and so were the parents.
I learned things in my baby massage course that I still use today on the eight year old Little Bird. As she grew our massage dance evolved. When she was tiny, I could lift her from the bath, dry her off and then give her a nice relaxing massage with the heavenly scented oils before snuggling her into her sleepsuit.
(Then she would have an explosive nappy and the whole bathing process would start again, though this time less relaxed because the water wouldn’t be quite the right temperature and the fresh towel and sleepsuit would have been pulled straight from the drawer and not lovingly warmed on the radiator, and she’d be too tired, cold and cranky for another massage. BUT... let’s just stay with that first image of parenting bliss.)
As she grew into a crawler I would chase her round the room with oiled hands and massage a toe or a buttock or whatever I could briefly lay a hand to. She enjoyed that too. Sometimes now, when she’s stretched out reading a book, she will call out “Massage my feet!” and like a good handmaiden - sorry, mother - I will dash off and get some coconut oil.
But her favourite type of massage was what we eventually started calling Fart Yoga™. Yes, we’re all class in this house. And still now, if she’s feeling a bit windy we’ll do some massage/yoga fusion moves (it’s like Yogalates for your colon) to get more comfortable.
So, here are some of the (actually scientifically researched) benefits of baby massage:
- It’s great for bonding with your baby. All that eye contact, chatting, singing and gentle loving touch with your newborn is bliss for both of you.
- The physiological benefits for your baby include improved lymph and blood circulation, better breathing, and better gastrointestinal function.
- It’s super relaxing for baby, so a great way to calm them before bed. Or any time of the day.
- As outlined by our Fart Yoga™, it can provide great relief for babies with colic, trapped wind or constipation.
- It can help new parents become more confident handling their little ones. It also helps you tune into your baby so you can quicker read their cues, meaning you can meet their needs as soon as they arise.
For more about baby massage and to find classes near you see www.babymassageireland.com
A lovely baby massage book is this one called Infant Massage by Vimala McClure.